With just a week left to the August 9 general election, every candidate is in a rush to cover as much ground as possible.
All indications are that the Meru County Assembly will be occupied by members from several parties, with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) poised to grab a majority of the seats.
Though fronted as an Ameru Party, opinion surveys indicate that Kiraitu Murungi’s ‘Mbus’ outfit may not win any MP seat, and may also lose in a majority of the Wards in Meru, partly due to it’s association with the Azimio la Umoja Coalition led by Raila Odinga.
Below is a list of 7 candidates for various seats with close to 100% winning chances:
1. Rahim Dawood – North Imenti
An Independent candidate and a second time legislator, Imenti North MP Abdul Rahim Dawood has over time defied all the odds to earn himself a place among the top ranking politicians in Meru.
A Kenyan of Asian origin, Rahim has over the years received overwhelming support from Imenti North residents, mainly due to his development track record, equitable bursary allocation, community service outside politics and his evident passion to help the lowly members of the community.
Rahim joined active politics in 2007 as a Councilor under the Narc-Kenya Party. He was later elected as the Commercial Ward Councilor and went on to become the North Imenti MP in 2013 under the Alliance Party of Kenya (popularly known as MBUS), a party led by Kiraitu Murungi.
In the 2013 general election, Rahim trounced TNA’s Silas Muriuki, who had just won his only term as MP after several attempts. Rahim Dawood was re-elected as North Imenti MP in 2017 on a Jubilee Party ticket and has served in several key committees in the National Assembly.
He has severally been ranked among the best and the most active legislators in Parliament, having made the most appearances than any other MP in Meru County, and the only Meru legislator who sponsored a bill in parliament – the Kenya Deposit Insurance Bill 2020.
In the most recent Mizani Africa survey released on 31st July, Hon. Rahim was ranked the most popular candidate with a comfortable 41.2% lead against his closes competitor Ken Muriuki with 22.3%. UDA’s Halima Mucheke comes in third with 14.5%, while Carol Karimi Muriuki (Mbus) was ranked fourth with 11.8%.
2. Kirima Nguchine – Central Imenti
Kirima Nguchine is seeking a second term on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket. A long time ally of both Governor Kiraitu Murungi and DP William Ruto, Ngushine will be cashing on his excellent development track record to retain his seat.
Several candidates have expressed their interest in unseating him, among them Martin Kathurima (SAFINA), Kelvin Muthaura Mutuma, Julius Kimathi Amundi and KK Mutai.
In the most recent Mizani Africa survey released on 31st July, Hon. Nguchine was ranked the most popular candidate with a comfortable 50.3% lead against his closes competitor Ken Muthaura Mutuma with 36.0%. Amundi Julius Kimathi came in third with 8.6%, while Martin Kathurima (SAFINA) was ranked fourth with 2.5%.
3. John Paul Mwirigi – Igembe South
In 2017, John Paul was voted to Parliament on an Independent ticket, the youngest MP at the time. With the fallout between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, John Paul has always remained on Ruto’s side.
It is probably his loyalty to his party boss that pushed away would-be competitors for the UDA ticket. John Paul will be facing a growing onslaught from Jubilee’s Mithika Mzalendo and Jack Smart (Independent).
Several Mizani Africa rankings place Hon. John Paul way above his two main competitors, with the most recent survey giving him a clear lead of 55.1% against Mzalendo’s 38.2%. James Kiriinya Kirema (popularly known as Jack Smart) comes third with 6.2%.
4. Elizabeth Karambu – Woman Representative
All opinion surveys conducted among Meru residents have always projected that Ms. Karambu (alias Mama Safi) will get a massive win. She unsuccessfully contested for the seat twice, lost to Florence Kajuju in 2013 and to Kawira Mwangaza in 2017.
With her two main rivals out of the race, Mama Safi has always been seen as a people’s favorite for the seat, with her ardent supporters citing her maturity, integrity and accessibility by the people.
Karambu will be facing Felicity Biriri (Mbus), Gakii Mbui (Bensouda) and Edith Mwirigi (Independent) – all new entrants into the County Woman MP race.
5. Dr. John Mutunga – Tigania West
Against an onslaught by Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, a former area MP and a seasoned politician in Meru, Dr. Mutunga has remained a people’s favorite owing to his development record.
His association with DP Ruto, a favorite Presidential candidate in Meru and the larger Mt. Kenya region is also said to be working in his favor.
Pundits argue that although Dr. Mwiria remains a respected leader in Tigania West, he ended up ‘losing the spark’ after his two unsuccessful attempts to clinch the Meru gubernatorial seat.
Dr. Mwiria vied for the Meru Governor seat in 2013 and lost to Peter Munya. He suffered a bigger loss in 2017 when he came a distant third.
6. Dr. Shadrack Mwiti – South Imenti
Having unsuccessfully contested for the South Imenti seat in 2013 and 2017, Dr. Shadrack Mwiti is seeking the same seat on a Jubilee party ticket.
He enjoys the support of key leaders in the vote-rich constituency, among them Governor Kiraitu Murungi, whose Mbus Party is also an affiliate of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition.
Dr. Shadrack Mwiti will be battling it out with Gideon Kimathi (Mbus), Mwiti Kathaara (UDA), Jasper Muthomi (Independent) and Mwiti Kathendu among other candidates.
7. Kathuri Murungi – Meru Senator
Kathuri Murungi (Kamashinani) is a Kenyan politician and the current Member of Parliament for South Imenti Constituency in Meru County, elected in 2017 as an independent candidate.
He served in the same position from 2013 to 2017, having been elected to office on a TNA Party ticket.
In the National Assembly, he has been an active member in the Departmental Committee on Environment & Natural Resources, a position he held from 2013 to 2017.
Kathuri Murungi has also served in several other departmental committees in parliament, among them the Committee on Regional Integration (2013 -2017), the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (2017 to date) and the Special Funds Accounts Committee (2017 to date).
Kathuri is the UDA candidate for the Meru the Senatorial seat in the upcoming 2022 general election, and has enjoyed massive support from leaders across the political divide.
Opinion polls from different pollsters have consistently painted a picture of a landslide win for Mr. Murungi, with over 70% approval ratings.
Kathuri will be battling it out with Joseph Kaberia Arimba (Independent), James Mithika Ntongai (Jubilee), and Independent candidates Captain Goddie, Kinoti Marete, Jonathan Gikabu and Salesio Thuranira.
Meru Daily News is your one-stop trusted source for the latest News updates from Meru County, Tharaka Nithi and the larger Mt. Kenya region. Follow our Social Media Pages for real-time News Bytes.