By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
Though it is a long way to the 2022 elections, the battle for Meru governor is in full swing.
The protagonists have already identified themselves, and those seriously eyeing the coveted seat are salivating for the people’s support-votes.
And a hard battle it is going to be when you assess the leading contenders.
Though there are others who might join the fray along the way, three of the challengers catch the eye because they are household names who command a great deal of support and influence in all the nine sub-counties.
Governor Kiraitu Murungi who managed to wrest the seat from Peter Munya, now Cabinet Secretary in charge of Agriculture and Cooperatives, is bracing for what could be the toughest fight yet of his political life.
Apart from Mr Munya who holds significant sway in the county, there is also Woman rep Kawira Mwangaza, she has launched a scathing attack on Mr Kiraitu, and is determined to vanquish him at the ballot in 2022.
Kiraitu is banking on his three decades of political experience and the power of the incumbency, but he is not resting easy as in Munya and Mwangaza, he has a battle in his hands.
Mr Mutuota, a keen observer of regional politics, reckons the fact that the trio is all political titans should favor the incumbent.
Word on the street is Governor Kiraitu is back to the drawing board, after weighing his chances in the developing political landscape.
Nelson Mwenda, an analyst, says to stand a better chance of retaining the seat Kiraitu has to ‘reorganize’ and become more innovative.
“Kiraitu needs a sizeable number of votes in Tigania to save his skin, because the way it looks with the entrance of Kawira and Munya in the race for the seat, his chances are becoming thinner. He might want to woo Tigania by picking a different person from there as his running mate. Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu is a good guy and a good manager, but he did not win his boss a lot of votes in Tigania last time,” said Mr Mwenda.
Mwenda said the political equation is getting trickier, as the grapevine is Ntuchiu could be mulling a run for the Tigania West parliamentary seat.
“Ntuchiu, if he run for the MP’s seat, stands a very good chance of winning it. He has what it takes to pull it off. He is loved there and has contributed millions in personal resources to local development projects and charity. Actually, he has in recent months been touring the constituency to launch or inspect projects, and that has raised his political profile.”
But Kawira, adds Mwenda, is a tricky number for Kiraitu-and Munya.
“Like Munya she knows how to work up a crowd. She has great appeal with people in the grassroots, partly because of her ‘Okolea’ charity initiatives. She has the added advantage of having the popular Baite TV station at her disposal. She is using it to her advantage, it could just change her political fortunes if she deploys it effectively,” he said.
As Kiraitu commands a huge following in the Imenti side of the county, so is Munya when it comes to the Nyambene region, Kawira seems to command a good following in all parts of the county.
As 2020 wears on because of the coronavirus pandemic which has brought its own challenges, including preventing political campaigns, the three are quietly performing their official duties, but it is not lost upon residents that politics have not entirely been pushed to the back-burner.
Already, the battle for the support of various groups, including youth, farmers, and MCAs is on.