Former top civil servants in previous governments appeared to be making a comeback in politics, leading the race for the Jubilee Party ticket for top elective positions in Nakuru, Nyandarua and Laikipia counties.
At the same time, at least five MPs from Nakuru and Nyandarua counties have been felled by their rivals in the nominations for the JP ticket to contest the August 8 elections.
In Nyandarua, former Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia won the race for the governor’s seat with 87,110 votes; beating Mr Kirika Waithaka Mwangi (23,635), Dr Moses Kiarie Ndirangu (20,597), incumbent Daniel Waithaka Mwangi (19,707), Peter Mwangi Gathimba (11,342), Eng Muriuki Karue (8,911) and Dr Simon Waweru Kanyingi (4,920).
In Laikipia, former Industrialisation assistant minister and Laikipia West MP Nderitu Muriithi put up a strong fight against Governor Joshua Irungu.
In Nakuru, the nominations for the governor’s seat proved to be a titanic battle, shaping into a two-horse race, with the third contestant for the Jubilee Party ticket, former National Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse and former Naivasha MP John Mututho, trailing.
Former assistant minister in the Mwai Kibaki administration, Mr Lee Kinyanjui and Governor Kinuthia Mbugua were in a neck-and-neck contest.
Mr Kinyanjui, the former chairman of the National Transport and Safety Authority and a former Nakuru Town MP, had taken an early lead by Thursday morning, even in some polling stations in Mr Mbugua’s strongholds.
Unofficial results had indicated that Mr Kinyanjui had maintained a lead in the race for the Jubilee Party ticket, polling 223,583 votes against Governor Mbugua’s 139,734 as at 3:30pm on Thursday.
Later, however, results for Molo constituency were revised, changing the figures.
The official results had not been released by the time of going to press.
In Nyandarua, former Finance minister Amos Kimunya made a comeback after he won the Jubilee Party Kipipiri parliamentary nominations with 16,479 votes, sending home the incumbent, Mr Samuel Gichigi who polled 5,999 votes.
Mr Raphael Njoroge polled 5,468, radio journalist Wanjiku Njuguna was third with 1,589 while John Njenga had 1,308 and Mr John Njoroge 603.
In the 2013 General Election, Mr Kimunya lost his seat to Mr Gichigi, who was once his personal assistant.
Then, Mr Gichigi vied on an APK ticket while Mr Kimunya was in TNA.
In the race for the Senate ticket, Nakuru’s ‘Iron Lady’, County Assembly Speaker Susan Kihika led by a wide margin against her closest competitors — peace activist Andew Yatich and lawyer Karanja Kabage.
Ms Kihika has put up a strong campaign for the seat since last year and gave her rivals a tough fight.
Former Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere, who folded his Chama Cha Mwananchi party in September to join Jubilee, was also in the race.
Others were Mr John Njenga Mungai, Mambo Josepha Wambui, Andrew Yatich Cherogony, Davynisius Matagaro Omae and Jackson Wachira Waihenya.
Described as the Iron Lady of Nakuru County, Ms Kihika has fulfilled predictions showing her as the front-runner for the seat and it remains to be seen by what margin she will beat the male-dominated race.
In the woman representative seat race, the incumbent, Ms Mary Mbugua was facing strong opposition from nominated Senator Lisa Chelule and Ms Zipporah Karani.
In the race for the Nyandarua Senate seat, former Planning minister and MP Mwangi Githiomi took the lead against his rivals who included former Ndaragwa MP Muchiri Gachara and former Kinangop MP David Ngugi.
Reports by Caroline Wafula, Steve Njuguna, Francis Mureithi, Eric Matara, Magdalene Wanja, Joseph Openda and Reitz Mureithi