, NYERI, Kenya, Mar 2 – Its game set, match in the vote rich Central Province as the final day of campaigns ahead of the General Elections witnessed frenetic last minute rush for voters on Saturday.
In Nyeri and its environs, the Grand National Unity (GNU) party pulled all stops to ensure their candidates eclipsed the popular The National Alliance (TNA) in the race for gubernatorial, senate, Member of Parliament, County Representatives and Women Representative posts.
Elsewhere, with a bruising three-pronged battle to succeed President Mwai Kibaki as the Othaya MP on the cards, the constituency was surprisingly calm as a spot check by Capital FM News revealed muted political activity save for the GNU caravan that disrupted the serene atmosphere surrounding the town.
Nyeri gubernatorial candidate and former Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua and his GNU brigade stole the thunder on the final day of campaigning with a loaded procession dubbed ‘Mugithi wa Gachagua’ (Gachagua’s Train) that drew out the crowds in their droves.
“I come to you as a servant seeking your votes. Give me a chance so that I can bring true leadership to this area,” Gachagua, who served as Mathira MP between 2002 and 2007 before being trounced by immediate former legislator, Ephraim Maina who is gunning for the senator’s post on a TNA ticket.
Starting at Karatina, the convoy that contained tens of boda boda motor bikes, trucks, fuel guzzlers and other vehicles snaked through Mukurweini, Othaya and finally landed at Nyeri’s revered Kamukunji Grounds for the grand finale where GNU leader and former Laikipia MP, Mwangi Kiunjuri joined the party to endorse the gubernatorial hopeful in a rally.
The show of force by the party that is seeking to eat into TNA’s presumed supremacy in the region spared no cost paving the way for an intriguing contest in the region.
To align themselves to the wave in the area, the GNU brigade was keen to throw their support behind TNA presidential candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, as the complex political arithmetic in Nyeri came to the fore.
However, the determined last minute foray by GNU was greeted with scorn and in some cases, disdain by sections of the gathered crowds.
“What can he do now that he did not do when he was in parliament?” Samuel Mwangi posed to Capital FM News.
With most candidates on the TNA ticket favoured to clinch elective posts on the six-piece platform called on by the coalition’s leadership, other parties have been left with the task of convincing the electorate to judge the contenders on individual capability.
What remains to be seen is whether the political cake will be shared among the parties in this region when the tally comes in on Monday.
Nderitu Gachagua- GNU
Dr Wahome Gakuru- TNA
Dr Njururi Mutahi- NARC-K
Thuo Mathenge- Ford Asili
Ephraim Maina- TNA
Mutahi Kagwe- Narc
Dr Chris Murungaru- DP
Job Kareithi- Farmers Party
Esther Murugi- TNA
Duncan Maina- GNU
Duncan Mathenge- DP
Mary Wambui- TNA
Gichuki Mugambi- Saba Saba
Peter Kingara- GNU
Emilio Kibui- Farmers Party
Esau Kioni- DP