Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru was Tuesday sworn into office in a colourful ceremony.
The event saw the Kirinyaga governor asked to offer herself as the Jubilee presidential running mate in the 2022 elections.
In what was seen as a move to rekindle the succession debate, Ms Waiguru was praised as a person who had made Kenyan women proud and asked not to shy away from going for the deputy presidency position.
During the event, which was attended by Deputy President William Ruto, women leaders said Ms Waiguru’s victory had demonstrated that women could easily ascend even to the second highest national political office.
Peris Tobiko, the Kajiado MP-elect, was the first to spark off the debate saying Ms Waiguru could become the running mate of Mr Ruto in 2022.
“I would like to congratulate Ms Waiguru for being elected as the first female governor of this region. She has made the women of Kenya proud and I have faith in her to bring development in the area and thereafter become the Deputy President of Kenya,” she said.
The event was held at Kirinyaga University during the swearing ceremony, which attracted thousands of residents and guests from the region and other parts of the country.
Former Governor Joseph Ndathi handed over the instruments of power to Ms Waiguru and wished her good luck.
Twelve other elected and nominated women MPs and senators among them Beth Mugo shared the same sentiments as Ms Tobiko.
They urged the Deputy President to take Ms Waiguru as his running mate once President Uhuru Kenyatta retires after completing his second term in office.
Ms Tobiko pleaded with Mr Ruto to help Ms Waiguru rise to national politics by picking her as his running mate.
“It is true Ms Waiguru is fit to be the Deputy President and she should go for the seat in the next General Election,” said Ms Mugo.
However, Mr Ruto steered clear of succession debate and instead congratulated Ms Waiguru for her election.
“In a special way I would like to congratulate Ms Waiguru for being elected as one of few women governors in Kenya,” he said
He also termed as historic the victory of Ms Waiguru, Dr Joyce Laboso (Bomet) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) adding that as a nation we were proud of them.
The DP called on Kenyans to shun tribalism and noted that the Jubilee government was working hard to get rid of politics of tribalism and divisions.
“For the first time we have Jubilee MPs in Nyanza, Coast and Kisii. Kenya’s politics is changing. Kenyans are no longer voting along tribal lines,” he said.
Mr Ruto challenged all elected leaders to focus on improving the lives of the electorates or be weeded out in the next polls.
“Those who failed to deliver have been shown the exit. Therefore the newly elected leaders will face the axe if they fail to deliver,” he said.
Ms Waiguru, who took the oath of office together with her deputy Peter Ndambiri promised to fulfill all her pre-election pledges.
She singled out poor roads, low returns for farmers, poor health facilities, unemployment and lack of clean water as some of the problems facing the residents and promised to fix them.
She thanked the residents for breaking the ceiling of prejudice and bias against women leaders and promised that she will not let them down.
“I shall serve all without discrimination now that the residents made history by electing me as the first female governor in the region,” she said.
Five MPS-elect, Munene Wambugu (Kirinyaga Central), Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu), George Kariuki (Ndia), Kabinga Wathayu (Mwea), Moses Kuria (Gatundu-South) and Kanini Kega of Kieni assured the Deputy President that leaders from the region will back his 2022 presidency bid.
“You have stood with President Kenyatta and we shall also back you to takeover power after the Head of State retires,” said Mr Kega.