The election of Embu Governor Martin Wambora to succeed Governor Wycliffe Oparanya of Kakamega, as the CoG Chair saw President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto mobilise their respective teams against each other to a duel DP Ruto lost.
With the Kakamega Governor finishing his term as the council’s chair, President Uhuru Kenyatta wanted Oparanya’s replacement to be someone who would play a critical role in the BBI process not only nationally but also in his Mt Kenya backyard.
Deputy President William Ruto, determined to scuttle the Jubilee agenda, had proposed two candidates to go against Uhuru and Raila’s camp. Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and his Uasin Gishu counterpart, Jackson Mandago were on the race to succeed Oparnya. The two governors are staunch William Ruto allies.
Unkown to DP Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta had already identified Embu Governor Martin Wambora as his preferred choice and was quietly reaching out to individual governors seeking their vote and explaining why they needed to back Wambora. Also, BBI politics in Mt Kenya play a vital role in President Uhuru’s move.
Governors Kibwana and Jackson Mandago who had been fronted by Ruto withdrew from the race last minute.
Governor Martin Wambora and Muranga’s Mwangi Wa Iria are the only governors in Mt Kenya who have served two terms.
According to sources, the Head of State wanted the next CoG Chair to be someone who will strongly push for the BBI in the Mt Kenya region. The source added, Uhuru needs someone who is on standby to pick late-night calls, in Kikuyu, about issues affecting the region, especially county financing and the BBI.
The CoG plays an important role in the BBI and Uhuru Kenyatta could not allow DP Ruto allies anywhere near the office.
”The CoG position would be very instrumental in articulating county positions on matters BBI and also quite important in lobbying governors to back the referendum,” former Githunguri MP Njoroge Baiya said.
Martin Wambora will be deputized by Kisii Governor James Ongwae a strong ally of Raila Odinga. Elgeiyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos was installed as CoG chief whip in part of a deal to counter Deputy President William Ruto.