At least two governors, and 15 members of Parliament vying as independent candidates have braved awesome big party machinery to win seats.
The leaders, most of whom returned to the race after losing in what they termed unfair party primaries, defied the waves created by strong political parties in their respective regions and were last evening headed for victory.
Former Laikipia West MP Ndiritu Muriithi, who went independent after losing the Jubilee Party ticket in the Laikipia governorship contest, was ahead of incumbent Joshua Irungu.
Mr Muriithi, a nephew of retired President Mwai Kibaki, was by 2pm leading Mr Irungu, having garnered 98,843 votes to his rival’s 96,828.
This was despite Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri camping in the area to campaign for Mr Irungu, who beat him in 2013.
Should Mr Muriithi win the race, he will become the first independent governor, with the rest who were seeking the seat as independents having lost.
Former Cabinet minister Mohammed Abdi Kuti was set to become Isiolo governor after trouncing party candidates including incumbent Godana Doyo.
Mr Kuti had defected from Jubilee to Narc-Kenya before going independent.
One casualty of what pundits have termed ‘The Great Independent Revolution’ is Thika Town MP Alice N’gan’ga, who was beaten despite flying the Jubilee ticket.
Ms Ng’an’ga lost to businessman Patrick Wainaina, popularly known as Wainaina wa Jungle due to his Thika-based Macadamia processing plant, Jungle Nut.
They garnered 50,910 and 56,476 votes, respectively.
The upset was all the more resounding because the constituency is in Kiambu, which is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s home county.
In fact, Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto campaigned vigorously for Ms Ng’ang’a and other Jubilee candidates.
In Deputy President William Ruto’s Turbo Constituency in Uasin Gishu County, independent candidate Janet Sitienei was also headed for victory. Ms Sitienei lost to Mr Stephen Okwara in the Jubilee primaries.
Provisional results from 36 out of the 193 polling stations indicated that Ms Sitienei was leading with 36,444 with Okwara garnering 30,914 votes.
In Ainabkoi Constituency, also in the county, Mr William Chepkut, the late powerful Nyayo-era Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott’s aide, was leading Mr Samuel Chepkong’a of Jubilee.
The lawyer and consummate debater was seeking a second term.
Mr Chepkut is widely known for his closeness to Biwott, who died last month after a long illness.
At Mr Biwott’s burial, he made a passionate, if humorous, appeal to Ainabkoi constituents to elect him, saying his former boss had endorsed him.
In Soin/Sigowet Constituency, Kericho County, Bernard Koros had defeated Jubilee’s Justice Kemei.
Businesswoman Kawira Mwangaza, who lost the Jubilee ticket for the Meru woman representative seat, was leading incumbent Florence Kajuju, having so far tallied 261,944 votes to the Jubilee candidate’s 213,449.
Mr John Mwingi, who is seeking Igembe South as an independent, was ahead with 18,659 votes while Jubilee’s Joseph Miriti had managed 15,635.
Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi, an independent, was ahead of his Jubilee rival, Dr Shadrack Mwiti, with 30,195 and 24,146 votes, respectively.
Investigative journalist Mohammed Ali, who accused Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho of denying him victory in favour of his kin Said Abdalla in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) nominations, was leading in Nyali Constituency with 43,407 votes against his opponent’s 14,790 votes.
Long-serving Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabir was poised to make a comeback as an independent, took an early lead with 30,198 votes against his closest challenger Nicholas Odongo’s 26,406.
Mr Shabir was edged out in the chaotic ODM primaries.
In Suna West, also in Nyanza region, Mr Peter Masara defied the ODM wave to take a lead with 19,341 votes against incumbent Joseph Obiero Ndiege, who had 18,316 votes.
In Ukambani region, Mr Charles Kilonzo was leading in Yatta Constituency, Machakos County, with 16,671 votes followed by Chama Cha Uzalendo’s Francis Mwangangi (10,606).
In neighbouring Makueni County, Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba easily defeated his Wiper challenger James Mbaluka to earn a third stint as an independent legislator.
Bungoma County could also have an independent MP after Mr Moses Wekesa took an early lead in Bumula Constituency against ODM and Ford-Kenya party candidates.
In Kisii’s Bomachoge-Borabu, independent Zadoc Abel was headed for victory with 13,538 votes, about 2,000 ahead of his competitor, incumbent MP Joel Onyancha of Jubilee.
Additional reporting by Caroline Wafula, Barnabas Bii, Rushdie Audia and Anita Chepkoech
Coast maintains vote for the Opposition despite heavy campaigns by Uhuru and Ruto.