For a fiery politician who has risen from shackles of scandals to light the political career path for women, turning back isn’t one of the options, even though the situation may be daringly demanding that from her.
Strong competitors with deep pockets
In 2017, Waiguru fought her heart out to clinch the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat after a cutthroat competition from Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua. So fierce was the contest that it had to be settled at the Supreme Court.
With about 11 months left for her to the next polls, Waiguru is facing yet another tough battle bringing together more formidable competitors with deep pockets, coming amid new political dynamics.
Ngirici is seen as Waiguru’s worst nightmare in her quest to defend the gubernatorial seat and has vowed to do it come August 2022. The woman rep is known for flamboyance and generosity during campaigns.
Kibicho, a close and trusted ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, is presenting another challenge for Waiguru. He has been at loggerheads with the governor for the last four months and will be seeking to settle the feud at the ballot.
For Githae, although he has not been on the ground lately, his impeccable track record as minister for finance and former MP for Ndia have placed him among top contenders. He is also a man with means, connections and resources.
Then there is the old fiery rival in Karua. The former Gicugu MP and Minister for Justice has vowed to unseat Waiguru by all means. In a recent interview with a local TV station, Karua refused to recognize Waiguru as her governor and insisted she was rigged out.
“She (Anne Waiguru) is not my governor…you know what happened,” said Kurua in a terse response to the journalist’s question.
Although the Kirinyaga governor has sailed through storms and walked over thorny and bumpy hills, 2022 seems a tight political trap for her and will have to wave a magic wand to pull through.
The political arithmetic that complicates Waiguru’s matrix stems from the crumbling of the ruling Jubilee Party which sponsored her election in 2017.
She has been a loyal and ardent supporter of the outfit since her election and has spent a considerable amount of time and energy castigating Deputy President William Ruto and his new outfit, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
However, it is now emerging that UDA is the party to beat Kirinyaga and she now has to find a way of accepting that reality lest she falls into the ditch.
By her own admission on Wednesday, September 8, Waiguru said it would very difficult for her to win back her seat on a Jubilee ticket if elections were held today.
“The truth of the matter is that if elections were held today, defending my seat on a Jubilee ticket would be very difficult,” Waiguru said.
But even so, the former Devolution CS would still face hurdles in getting the seemingly unfavorable Jubilee ticket as she would have to battle it out with PS Kibicho, the president’s blue-eyed boy.
On the other hand, joining UDA would subject her to another fierce nomination battle with Ngirici, a long-term loyal ally of Ruto, a man Waiguru has been shredding and sneering at every press conference. She now finds herself in a precarious position, tied and parked in a situation room.
In a recent social media post, the Kirinyaga county boss decried frustration and intimidation from top government officials and hinted at working out of the Jubilee party.
“Last I said- “on BBI let me keep quiet a bit” immediately, EACC raided my office. Recently I said am “…introspecting on the political way forward” & again immediately I get EACC summons…Is it just coincidence, witch-hunt, or the usual attempt to shape narratives for 2022 politics? Poses the governor.
When asked whether or not she would consider joining UDA, Waiguru remained non-committal but dropped hints and leads of such a possibility as she responded to the question.
“It is not the right time to make such a statement. I can’t say I will, or will not or it is unlikely. This is politics,” Waiguru said.
Ngirici who appears to have already read Waiguru’s moves has welcomed the governor to UDA and challenged her to prepare for an epic nomination showdown.
“Ehe!, Kwani ni kesho? Karibu nominations,” reacted the woman rep after Waiguru refused to rule out joining UDA.
In a subsequent tweet, Ngirici took a swipe at Waiguru’s popular narrative that Kikuyus can only be rented but can’t be bought.
“What happened to the politics of renting a Kikuyu and not buying one? She posed, ending the question with laughing emoji.
Ngirici appears more composed, prepared, and ready to dethroned Waiguru from power, she seems to be relishing the moment and waiting for the kick-off whistle to be blown.
On the other hand, Waiguru is under immense pressure to resuscitate her otherwise sinking political career. As she scratches her head pondering about the next move, more formidable opponents are flocking the field and dimming her political star.