Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok has retained the chairmanship of the prestigious Council of Governors after intense lobbying which threatened to tear the lobby apart.
In the arrangement, Salim Mvurya of Jubilee will take over after six months. Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru will deputise Mr Nanok and later Mr Mvurya.
“The CoG will continue being non-partisan and ensuring all counties flourish,” Mr Nanok said in his acceptance speech.
While Jubilee Party had been sure of sweeping the board in the club’s elections given its numerical strength, consensus was resorted to after county chiefs sensed that a bitter election would have divided the club.
Earlier, there was panic in the Jubilee camp after the surprise entry into the race of Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.
STATE HOUSE MEETING
Mandago joins race for CoG chairman
Mr Mandago’s entry would have complicated President Uhuru Kenyatta’s favourite candidate for the Council of Governors chairmanship, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya’s chances of clinching the seat.
Addressing governors during a meeting at State House after the August 8 polls, President Kenyatta had endorsed Mr Mvurya to dethrone Nanok as chairman with Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru as his deputy.
All was well in the Jubilee camp with Mr Mvurya and Ms Waiguru expressing confidence of winning until Thursday evening when Mr Nanok launched a vicious campaign to retain his seat.
Despite being elected on a Nasa ticket and bitterly falling out with President Kenyatta prior to August polls, Mr Nanok was said to enjoy support of a top Jubilee leader to retain his seat.
Mr Nanok has since been showing lukewarm support for the opposition and has indicated he will work with President Kenyatta and Jubilee administration.
Mr Mandago’s entry into the race threatened to split Jubilee’s votes in favour of Mr Nanok. Mr Mandago later withdrew.
Jubilee enjoys numerical strength in CoG after winning most of the gubernatorial seats.
Some Jubilee governors allied to Deputy President William Ruto were on Friday seen openly stating they will vote for either Mr Nanok or Mr Mandago, but the latter later withdrew his candidature.
On Thursday, some Jubilee governors led by Tharaka Nithi’s Muthomi Njuki said the party was keen on sweeping all the key posts in the CoG.
However, the ruling party, he added, will cede a few slots to the opposition so that the CoG does not become a JP affair.
Speaking to journalists during an induction retreat for governors and their deputies at Diani Reef Hotel, the Jubilee governor said there’s no way the party will allow those who hit it hard during campaigns to win seats.
In an apparent reference to Mr Nanok who didn’t see eye to eye with President Kenyatta but has since changed tune, Mr Njuki said, “There’s no way you can be governor who hits the government of day then change tune when the going gets tough.”
“We will elect leaders depending on what happened on campaign trail,” he said.
Mr Nanok, who exchanged bitter words with President Kenyatta over sharing of Turkana oil revenue during the campaigns, on Friday struck a conciliatory tone and pushed for unity of governors. He also called for better working relationship between national and county governments.
Mr Njuki said gender balance would be considered in the polls.
Speaking during an interview at the retreat, a confident Ms Waiguru said it is not a political favour for her to get the seat.
“This time around we have first women governors and some of us have before worked in the devolution ministry. I served as a CS for this country and I hope things will go well,” she said.
President Kenyatta has been scheming how to control the CoG after his administration was given sleepless nights by former chairs Isaac Ruto and Peter Munya.
The two accused the Jubilee administration of killing devolution by starving it of resources, failure to fully devolve some functions like health and delayed disbursement of funds.
But on Thursday President Kenyatta defended its administration saying it gave more funds, to devolved units than stipulated in the constitution.
The Head of State called for collaboration between the two levels of government, saying devolution should work.
Other Jubilee stalwarts who hailed devolution during yesterday’s retreat were Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Mandera’s Ali Roba.
Deputy President William Ruto is to unveil the new CoG leadership on Saturday before closing the conference.
AGRICULTURE: Okoth Obado (Migori County)
ARID AND SEMI ARID LAND: Moses Kasaine (Samburu)
COOPERATIVE AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT: Fahim Twaha (Lamu)
EDUCATION, YOUTH, GENDER, SPORTS, CULTURE AND SOCIAL SERVICES: Paul Chepkwony (Kericho)
FINANCE, COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Dr Joyce Laboso (Bomet)
HEALTH: Dr Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo)
HUMAN RESOURCE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: James Ongwae (Kisi)
INFORMATION, TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION: Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet)
IFRASTRUCTURE AND ENERGY: Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua)
INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS: Steven Sang (Nandi)
LEGAL AFFAIRS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni)
RESOURCE MOBILISATION: Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi)
ROLES AND BUSINESS: Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga)
SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Martin Wambora (Embu)
TOURISM AND WILDLIFE: Samuel ole Tunai (Narok)
TRADE, INDUSTRY AND INVESTMENT: Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma)
URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND PLANS: Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu)
WATER FORESTRY AND MINING: Kiraitu Murungi (Meru)