Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Wednesday, 21 Sep 2016 13:15 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Tharaka Nithi governor Samuel Ragwa has declared that he will defend his seat on the recently-launched Jubilee Party ticket. Governor Ragwa has been widely tipped to quit the party for months as the party’s powerbrokers have shown preference for current Chuka Igamba-Ng'ombe MP Muthomi Njuki to fly their flag in the 2017 elections.
“There are those who think we are going to opt out of the party but let me tell them know we are in Jubilee to stay,” Ragwa said at Rwanchege, Chogoria Ward, where he commissioned the upgrading of a road in the area.
Chogoria is a leading tea producing area in the county and the road is expected to improve transport of the fresh tea leaves to the market. The governor cited the road and other projects he had initiated over the last four years as part of his development record.
He also declared optimism that that the support he enjoys from Chuka Igambang’ombe was sufficient proof that Hon. Njuki cannot match him in a head-to-head competition for the Jubilee nomination.
Ragwa’s decision to remain in Jubilee comes after his earlier hesitation to join the party. When Jubilee Party was first mooted last year, he had said that he would not rush to join a party whose objectives, ideologies and manifesto were not yet clear.
“I will only join Jubilee Party if it prioritizes development of the people of Tharaka Nithi,” he had said. Subsequent to that statement, he boycotted a retreat by the Mt. Kenya East Political Caucus meeting at Nkubu Heritage Hotel last October, where the caucus agreed to use the Jubilee Party (then under formation) as the region’s political home.
That meeting brought together Jubilee leaders and powerbrokers from Mt. Kenya East, and Ragwa’s absence created a perception that he would never join Jubilee Party. Tharaka Nithi senator Kithure Kindiki subsequently Hon. Njuki for the governor’s position.
In the meantime, Ragwa moved closer to Meru governor Peter Munya, a Jubilee rebel, and at one time declared that he would support Munya and not deputy president William Ruto for the 2022 presidential elections.
With Ruto focused on succeeding President Uhuru, support for his 2022 bid (ostensibly after President Uhuru Kenyatta shall have served two terms) is a mark of loyalty in the governing coalition.
Senator Kindiki has emerged as Ragwa's primary critic in the county and is seen as the force behind Hon. Njuki's campaign to replace the governor.