Three governors — two of them newcomers and female — who beat the greatest odds to win their seats were Tuesday sworn into office in the presence of the leadership of their respective political parties.
Governor Joyce Laboso (Bomet) and Governor Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) took oath of office in front of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto respectively as Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho was sworn into office for the second term with National Super Alliance leaders Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi in attendance.
President Kenyatta attended Governor Laboso’s ceremony in Bomet to demonstrate the importance of the seat to the Jubilee Party.
It is worth noting that the President led several campaign rallies in the region, urging residents to send home one of their fiercest critics – former Governor Isaac Ruto.
The urge to send Mr Ruto home was sweetened by the fact that he was one of the Nasa co-principals and the opposition’s point man in the Rift Valley. His wings therefore had to be clipped.
Had he won the contest, Mr Ruto would have become a major force, challenging Deputy President William Ruto’s supremo status in the Rift Valley.
Jubilee therefore pumped in lots of money to neutralise his influence in the region and ensure that he was dethroned.
Dr Laboso won the contest, posting an impressive win with 175,471 votes against Mr Ruto’s 85,695.
In Kirinyaga, the Deputy President witnessed Ms Waiguru’s swearing-in.
The fete brought to an end, arguably, one of the biggest political battles in the country that pitted the former Devolution Cabinet Secretary against the equally aggressive Martha Karua, the Narc Kenya candidate.
Ms Waiguru’s victory is significant, considering that many had initially questioned her integrity, in the face of major graft scandals that dogged her time in government.
She, for instance, was accused of presiding over the loss of billions of shillings at the National Youth Service, allegations she has always denied, insisting she was the whistle blower.
She defeated Ms Karua, who seemingly lost the race, partly because she was not in Jubilee, the dominant party in the region.
It should be noted that Ms Karua, who is best known for shooting from the hip, had initially flirted with the opposition before declaring her support for President Kenyatta.
This was with the hope that her support would endear her to the Kirinyaga electorate.
In Mombasa, the presence of Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi at Governor Joho’s swearing-in ceremony spoke volumes.
It should be noted that of all the swearing-in ceremonies of governors allied to Nasa, it is only Governor Joho’s inauguration that Mr Odinga attended, a fact he stated at the event.
This signified the importance of the ODM deputy party leader not only to Mr Odinga, but the opposition as well, where he is considered a key financier.
Governor Joho’s election victory is also significant considering the obstacles placed by the State in the run up to the polls – including, among others, queries surrounding his academic documents.
He however triumphed despite vigorous campaigns by Jubilee Party key members, who also included the President and his Deputy, who camped in Mombasa, for Jubilee candidate Suleiman Shabhal.