Do or Die: 10 Hotly Contested Gubernatorial Races in Upcoming General Election

With only 7 days to the August 9 General Elections, we look at counties with highly competitive contests for the top seat Among the counties are Nairobi, Mombasa, Machakos, Kakamega, Kirinyaga, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu and Bungoma Former police spokesman Charles Owino dropped out of the Siaya gubernatorial race and returns to the National Police Service PAY ATTENTION: Help us change more lives, join’s Patreon programme. The much-awaited August 9 general election is less than ten days away, and Kenyans are eager to cast their vote for candidates whose manifesto convinced them. A collage image of gubernatorial candidates in different counties. Photo: Wangui Ngirici, Lee Kinyanjui, Fernandes Barasa and Hassan Omar. Source: Twitter For candidates, it is a cutthroat competition that will make or break them. Gubernatorial candidates are waiting for the defining moment. In more than 10 counties, big names will be on the ballot waiting for voters to decide their fate. For big counties like Nairobi and Kiambu, the homestretch to the polls is more intense because of the amount of budget allocation that the winner will control. READ ALSO Newspapers Review for August 1: New Poll Shows William Ruto Is Preferred Presidential Candidate PAY ATTENTION: Follow us on Instagram – get the most important news directly in your favourite app! Nairobi county Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, the third smallest county yet the most populous. The county has more than 4 million residents as per the 2019 national census, with only 2.3 million voters. The city has more than 3,000 polling stations and 17 constituencies. United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Johnson Sakaja, Jubilee party Polycarp Igathe, Herman Grewal of Safina party, Nancy Wambui of Usawa party, Kenneth Nyamwamu of United Progressive Party (UPA), independent candidates Agnes Kagure and Esther Waringa are fighting for a share of the over 2 million votes in the race to City Hall. They all participated in the Nairobi gubernatorial debate, outlining their plan for transforming the city. Frontrunners, Sakaja and Igathe spoke their manifesto while replying to questions by moderators. READ ALSO Raila Odinga Leads in Presidential Race with 52%, William Ruto at 45% in Latest CAP Poll Pundits argue that Sakaja was conversant with the city and its struggles and would therefore be the best-fitted candidate for the populous Nairobi. Kiambu county gubernatorial race After Nairobi, Kiambu county is the second largest county in terms of population. 2019 census caped Kiambu’s population at 2.42 million. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) data has shown that Kiambu has 12 constituencies with a total of 1.7 million registered voters in 1,963 polling stations. The gubernatorial race has attracted well-known politicians who have previously held political positions. Current Thika town MP Patrick ‘Jungle’ Wainaina, first governor of Kiambu William Kabogo, Mwende Gatabaki, current senator Kimani Wamatangi. Wainaina was trounced in the UDA party primaries by senator Wamatangi prompting him to contest as an independent candidate. Kabogo, the first governor for the county, will run on a Tujibebe Wakenya party ticket, while Mwende Gatabaki will be vying as an independent candidate. READ ALSO Wangui Ngirici to Beat Anne Waiguru in Kirinyaga Gubernatorial Race, New Poll Others in the Kiambu gubernatorial race are the incumbent governor, Jubilee party candidate James Nyoro and Chama Cha Kazi (CCK), and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. Nyoro ascended to the helm of the county after the impeachment of governor Ferdinand Waititu. Susan Kihika vs Lee Kinyanjui The Nakuru county gubernatorial race has attracted political heavyweights pitting governor Lee Kinyanjui on a Jubilee party ticket and senator Susan Kihika on a UDA party ticket. They currently hold their respective office as governor and senator, respectively. Others in the quest for the top seat are independent candidates Stanley Karanja, Nicholas Munywa and Elijah Karanja. Nakuru county was recently awarded city status, making it Kenya’s fourth city after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. Uasin Gishu county In the home of champions, three candidates are on a quest to succeed two-time governor Jackson Mandago. Jonathan Bii alias ‘Koti Moja’ emerged winner in the UDA party primaries looking to fly the party’s flag to the helm of the devolved unit. READ ALSO William Ruto Raids His Backyard to Neutralise Independent Candidates Business magnate Zedekiah Kiprop, known as ‘Buzeki’, is vying as na independent candidate, while William Kirwa will be seeking a seat on a United Democratic Movement Party (UDM). The devolved unit is known for producing Kenya’s best marathoners, while residents are largely dependent on farming and small businesses. Siaya, Raila Odinga’s backyard The current senator and Raila Odinga’s footsoldier James Orengo will be facing it off with UDA’s Millicent Oduor, UDM’s Nicholas Gumbo and independent candidate William Otieno. Former police spokesperson Charles Owino withdrew from the race to succeed governor Cornell Rasanga. Political enthusiasts have opinionated that the stiff competition from Gumbo has prompted Orengo to lessen his engagements in national politics to concentrate on his gubernatorial stint. Who will succeed governor Wycliffe Oparanya? The IEBC cleared more than five candidates to succeed governor Wycliffe Oparanya in the August 9 polls in Kakamega county. Amani National Congress (ANC) Cleophas Malala, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Fernandes Barasa, Cyrus Jirongo of UDP, Samuel Omukoko of Maendeleo Democratic Party, Kanu Suleiman Sumba and independent candidates Michael Osundwa and Austine Otieno are on the race to the county’s top seat. READ ALSO William Ruto Will Defeat Raila Odinga in Round One, New Presidential Poll Malala and Barasa are the frontrunners, per the recently released Mizani and TIFA polls. Maendeleo Chap Chap or UDA With the recent developments, the Machakos gubernatorial race has become more complicated. While on board a campaign vehicle, current Machakos governor Alfred Mutua endorsed Wiper gubernatorial candidate Wavinya Ndeti. Wavinya will face it off with UDA’s Johnson Muthama. Infotrak opinion polls said that Wavinya was poised to win the seat with a 46% margin. Kirinyaga county Otherwise regarded as the race for ‘Minji Minjis’, the Kirinyaga race is a tough one pitting two high-calibre women looking to capture the county’s top job. UDA’s Anne Waiguru is in the race to recapture the seat for the second time, while current women rep and independent candidate Wangui Ngirici is certain that she will unseat Waiguru. The recent Mizani Africa poll has outlined that Waiguru is leading in popularity, followed closely by Ngirici. READ ALSO IEBC Says Clearing Reuben Kigame to Vie for Presidency Would Cost Commission KSh 971m Mombasa county The current Mvita lawmaker, Abdulswamada Sheriff Nassir, will face off with former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar. Abdulswamad will be vying on an ODM ticket, while Omar will be contesting on a UDA party ticket. Wipers Mike Sonko was dropped from the race following a high court ruling sitting in Mombasa that he is unfit to hold public office over his credible impeachment. Other counties with stiff competition include Turkana, Kajiado, Homabay and Bungoma. Read more:


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