Wambora: Kenya’s governor with proverbial nine lives survives, again

Thursday April 27 2017

Embu Governor Martin Wambora celebrates on April 16, 2014 after the court reinstated him after he was impeached. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI |NATION MEDIA GROUP


Embu Governor Martin Wambora stretched his longstanding streak as ‘governor with nine lives’ following his morale boosting win in Tuesday’s Jubilee Party nominations.

The governor who was the first one to be impeached and the only one to face the jeopardy twice, surprised many when he won the contest against his bitter rival, Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire.

Mr Wambora who is also a former two-time Runyenjes MP garnered 60,634 votes against Ms Mbarire’s 43,509 during the Jubilee Party nominations.


Governor Martin Wambora receives his interim certificate on April 27, 2017 from County Jubilee party returning officer Kenneth Kamenchu after he won the party nominations to defend his seat. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The odds were largely stacked against him, with majority of county politicians, including Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Senator Lenny Kivuti, MPs John Muchiri, Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North) and Mbeere South’s Mutava Musyimi working against him.

To pile pressure on his woes, Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi has already crossed over and is now supporting Mr Kivuti while the County Assembly Speaker Kariuki Mate was the one spearheading Ms Mbarire’s campaigns.


Embu Governor Martin Wambora at Milimani High Court in Nairobi on February 12, 2015 where he was seeking to stop a second move to impeach him by Members of the County Assembly. PHOTOS | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Mr Wambora narrated how frustrated individuals called him to intimidate him that he stood no prospect to win the party ticket claiming that Ms Mbarire had blessings from the Head of State.

“The President means well, the Deputy President means well but down below, they don’t mean well. There are people who were ringing from Nairobi, pretending to be from State House saying a certain candidate is the favoured candidate.

“The President can’t make such a call. The Deputy President can’t make such a call. I know where that call came from but they will be defeated” he said after voting at Runyenjes Municipal Hall while accompanied by his wife Teresia and daughter Irene.


Embu Governor Martin Wambora at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on February 10, 2013 where the Senate committee began hearings of his impeachment. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Two weeks ago, Mr Muturi had campaigned for Ms Mbarire in his Mbeere North home turf.

“My duty is to ensure that Mr Wambora is defeated in next Friday’s elections during the Jubilee nominations. I must congratulate him for being brave and staying in Jubilee waiting for us to thrash him,” he said at Kanyuambora market.


Mr Muturi, however, defended his stand saying it was informed by a 2015 decision of Embu leaders led by Mr Kivuti.

“Senator Kivuti had even told me to inform the President but he did it before I could,” he said.


Governor Martin Wambora addresses the press outside his office on January 15, 2016, to defend himself from allegations that he had grabbed a prime plot belonging to retired teachers. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Wambora said he faced enormous onslaught from all corners and at one time his family and key advisors told him that he stood no chance in Jubilee and advised him to decamp.

At one point, his opponents started spreading propaganda posters portraying him as having decamped to independence party, Kanu.

“I know some of you wanted me to defect because you thought I would be rigged. You were not wrong. Even my wife thought that I would be rigged.


Governor Martin Wambora chats with Manyatta MP John Muchiri during a past Mashujaa Day celebrations at Kairuri Stadium grounds.PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“But we realised that it was not from the top but by about six people at the county. I told my wife I would not leave. I told her I’m going to fight like a lion. If I could manage the MCAs and the senators, what will six people do to me?” he posed.

However, Mr Wambora said his main priority was to campaign for Jubilee and ensure President Kenyatta and his deputy gets enough support from the area.