2007 Political Hotspots: Mathira Constituency

The sparring between current MP Nderitu Gacagua and contractor Ephraim Maina, which became public when the former hosted a party to celebrate President Kibaki's victory in 2003, is now set to grow into a punch-up. Maina is making his first foray into politics, and going for the Mathira seat, which Gachagua is determined to keep.

The field is crowded however, as more than 20 contestants have declared their interest, but the bulls in the ring, it appears, will be Gachagua, Maina, businessman Peter Kuguru of the Softa fame and former MP Matu Wamae.

Gachagua is counting on his record for the last four years he has been in parliament, while Maina has the resources to literally buy the vote. Since both are counting on nomination from the party on whose ticket president Kibaki will run, the battle begins early.

Despite his money, Maina has the misfortune of being the contractor who has yet to finish the now hopelessly decrepit Sagana-Marua road, which has caused hikes in transport costs for the farming community.

Kuguru, who ran on a Kanu ticket in the 2002 elections and lost to Gachagua, has repented and rejoined narc-K. For a man who managed over 5,000 votes in Mathira on a Kanu ticket at the time of the Narc euphoria, he cannot easily be wished aside, adding to Gachagua's headache in his bid to retain his seat. Gachagua, however, has the added advantage in that his CDF funds have yet to attract a single complaint, and the projects, whether by design or necessity, are highly visible. Matu Wamae has going for him a close relationship with president Kibaki, and enough resources to run a gigantic campaign.

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