Tetu voters abide by history to vote out Gethenji

Saturday August 19 2017

Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji

Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji speaks during a political rally at Ihururu stadium in Nyeri on May 27, 2017. He lost his re-election bid. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH WANGUI
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By IRENE MUGO
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In Nyeri County, Tetu constituency has maintained its tradition of kicking out MPs after one term in office.

Since 1988 when the constituency was established, the electorate have been shedding off their members of Parliament every election year.

The constituency, which has 51,716 registered voters, is one of the smallest electoral areas in the country and had one of the highest number of candidates.

GETHENJI LOSES
It has three wards: Dedan Kimathi Ward (13,487 registered voters), Wamagana (21,035 voters) and Aguthi-Gaaki with 17,194 voters..

This year, Mr Ndung’u Gethenji burnt the midnight oil hoping to dispel the perennial jinx.

His efforts were rendered futile as 14 men and one woman had trained their guns on unseating him.

Mr Gethenji was also the chairman of Defence and Foreign Relations Committee in Parliament..

LAWYER WINS
For the past four years, Mr Gethenji has been brushing shoulders with who is who in the country and the world including former US President Barack Obama.

Residents stuck to history to allow Nyeri-based lawyer James Gichuhi Mwangi to dethrone Mr Gethenji.

Mr Mwangi got with 24,813 against the latter's 6,348 votes.

Mr Mwangi was the Jubilee Party candidate while Mr Gethenji ran as an independent.

CONTESTANTS

Others in the race were Anne Kanyi who garnered 4,606 votes, Githigaro Wachira (3,991 votes), journalist Mwangi Kanyira (3,401 votes), Kariuki Kamwaro (816 votes), Gachanja Ngunyangi (259 votes) and Mukunya Muthumbi 231 (votes).

Mr Warutere Kiragu got (226 votes), Thuku Mwaniki (112 votes), Gathii Gitonga (106 votes), Ndirangu Kihoro (105 votes), Kimani Runo (98 votes), Waithaka Maina (63 votes), Kariuki Waweru (43 votes) and Kamau Waichere who managed to scrap nine votes.

DEFEAT
Mr Gethenji hails from Dedan Kimathi Ward while Mr Mwangi is from Aguthi Gaaki ward.

The former was defeated in his own backyard; he got 3,187 votes while Mr Mwangi got 5,552 votes.

In Aguthi-Gaaki, the outgoing MP garnered 1,562 votes while the MP-elect got 7,897 votes and in Wamagana ward he got 1,411 votes while Mr Mwangi secured an overwhelming 11,012 votes.

FORMER MPs
Mr Gethenji is the son of former area MP Gethenji Marekia who served between 1992 and 1997 on a Democratic Party of Kenya ticket.

Mr Marekia had defeated former Information Minister Nahashon Kanyi Waithaka of Kanu.

He passed on and was succeeded by Paul Gikonyo Muya of Democratic Party who served up to 2002 before been ousted by environmentalist Wangari Mathai.

CAMPAIGN
Ms Mathai represented the constituency in parliament between 2002 and 2007 before losing to educationist FT Nyamu.

Mr Mwangi, the MP-elect, is an international law graduate.

“It was an easy ride because I had interactions with the residents and that is what people want. Someone they can identify with,” he said.

The outgoing MP is the secretary-general of Independent candidates’ caucus.

GROWTH
Tetu has no fully equipped hospital or morgue. And investors have shied away

Patients seek medical services from Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County Referral hospital and Othaya Level Four Hospital.

There is also no major town in the constituency except for mid-sized trading centres like Ihuhuru and Wamagana.