By Mzalendo writer
On the other hand, Mr. Thuo is seen as a formidable force, but he will be required to work extra hard if he has any chance of dislodging Kabogo. Constituents have however expressed fears that he might drop out of the campaign like in 2002, when he had campaigned for his election as MP and refused to participate in the election at the 11th hour without explanation. Mr. Thuo however is well enriched in the church Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos) as he has continuously participated in various religious involvements. If the church decides to throw weight behind him, then he should not be written off.
As for former Juja MP, Stephen Ndichu, constituents have argued that he was not development conscious during his tenure and that he relied on populist politics like uprooting beacons from alleged grabbed land. But he is quick to point out that the CDF kitty was not there when he served as the area MP. Mr. Ndichu argues that by then, MPs could not have developed the constituency through money from their own pockets. Some constituents however accuses him of being a political betrayer arguing that during former President Moi’s era, Mr. Ndichu would shift loyalty from the opposition and join Kanu when his community was supporting
One other aspirant with a bit of a high profile is Mr. Dick Githaiga, he is the founder member of the Democratic Party (DP) in Thika. He is however presently a Narc Kenya activist. He is a prominent businessman with a string of businesses in Thika and currently enjoying state patronage for lucrative contracts. Githaiga has been a resident of Thika for over 30 years. Indeed, he claims that he is the only candidate who permanently resides in the constituency. Mr. Githaiga dismisses his opponents as persons who have residences in Nairobi and only travel to Juja for their political missions. Mr. Githaiga, who is a close friend of the Kibaki family, is known to have almost gone bankrupt after several of his business interest were attached and his flower farm collapsed at Yatta for allegedly campaigning for Mwai Kibaki to dislodge Moi in 1997. During his tenure at the town hall, Mr. Githaiga left a legend as one of the councilors who kept the then Mayor David Njihia’s on his toes over corruption and plot grabbing. On the social scene Mr. Githaiga has participated in various communal projects including development of churches, schools and dispensaries. Mr. Githaiga will be banking on these deeds during his campaigns. His detractors however claim that his main setback is that he cannot express himself adequately. Some constituents have also questioned the way he acquired his immense wealth.
Ms Alice Wanganga is not well known to Juja constituents although she is seen as a courageous woman who kept Mr. Kabogo on his toes during the recent Narc Kenya grassroots elections. She however draws her support from association with youth and women groups. The Narc Kenya activist has participated in various HIV/Aids projects in the Kiandutu and other slums. She has also been organizing clean-up exercises in Thika town and Waiteithie village.
Moving away from the lengthy list of aspirants to the issues – insecurity, widespread poverty, lack of clean water, electricity and unemployment will be the key issues during the campaigns. Aspirants will have to address the issue of slums which are mushrooming in the heart of Thika Town becoming a threat to investors.
Will the amount of money being poured into the constituency by the wealthier aspirants overshadow the issues? Only time will tell…