Kiraitu Murungi Loses 1st Election in 30 Years as Meru Gets Woman Governor

  • Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi
    Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi addressing a crowd at a past event
  • The incumbent Meru Governor, Kiraitu Murungi, has lost his first election in over three decades.

    Kiraitu lost the seat to independent candidate and incumbent Woman Representative, Kawira Mwangaza, who garnered 209,158 votes, followed by Senator Mithika Linturi who got 183, 859. Kiraitu came in third with 110,850 votes.

    The election became unfavourable for the seasoned politician in a race that attracted two main competitors led by Senator Franklin Mithika Linturi of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Kawira.

    Both Linturi and Kawira had accused the governor of nepotism in employment and award of tenders, poor delivery of services, and disrespect towards elected leaders.

    Meru Governor-elect Kawira Mwangaza while on a campaign trail in Meru County
    Meru Governor-elect Kawira Mwangaza while on a campaign trail in Meru County

    In her acceptance speech, Kawira stated that the contest was a tough one, attributing her victory to God and a strong team of supporters.

    "It is is day of wonders and I thank my deputy governor-elect, Isaac Mutuma, who has made this journey come true and not to forget my husband Baicu Murega," Kawira stated.

    "I want to promise you that Meru will be the best county. I also promise you sustainable development because we shall deliver."

    "I welcome all elected leaders to work together with us because our unity will mean great strength and development for Meru County," she concluded.

    Kiraitu - who is yet to concede - had from 2020 indicated that he was working on a decent exit from politics and planned to retire if and when he won the second term in 2022.

    To the shock of his own conviction, it becomes a historical loss for the seasoned Meru politician who has never lost an election since 1992. 

    The Harvard-educated lawyer is one of the longest-serving elected leaders in the country, having been elected Imenti South Member of Parliament in 1992. 

    He turned 70 years in January this year.

    He was defending his seat on a Devolution Party of Kenya (DPK) ticket, a party he founded in 2021. This would have been his seventh term as an elected leader if he had won a re-election.

    In 2017, he ran on a Jubilee ticket and garnered 281,737 votes while his then main competitor, Peter Munya, ran on Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket and garnered 232,569 votes.

    Munya bolted out of the race in February this year in favour of Kiraitu after he secured a deal with the Azimio coalition where he was nominated to continue serving as Agriculture Cabinet Secretary if the coalition presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, emerged victorious.

    It will be remembered in 2017 that Kiraitu, who was then the Meru Senator, joined the gubernatorial contest promising to teach CS Munya a political lesson after he allegedly disrespected him.

    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.
    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.