Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is emerging as a political powerhouse in Central Kenya and may be sticking out her neck in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession race.

The ex-Devolution Cabinet Secretary climbed up one step in the power ladder at the weekend after she was elevated as the new Council of Governors vice chairperson.

The new role thrusts Waiguru back into the national limelight after she was nearly destroyed by the Sh1.8 billion NYS graft scandal that saw her resign from government.

Before her unceremonious exit from her former docket, Waiguru was seen as a powerful CS, and among the closest to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru

The August 8 election marked Waiguru’s comeback, when she defeated Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, a political giant, in a fiercely fought Kirinyaga governor contest.

Jostling for Uhuru’s succession has begun and many political heavyweights in Central have been positioning themselves, including strategising to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in 2022.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and former Cabinet Minister Peter Kenneth are among those seen as front runners.

But it appears the vicious fallout between Ruto and Waiguru over the NYS scandal has yet to heal, with reports that Ruto’s allies in the CoG are uncomfortable with her.

Rift Valley governors teamed up with their colleagues from NASA to block Kwale’s Salim Mvurya from becoming the CoG chairman. This was seen as a strategy to whittle down Waiguru’s dominance.

At the height of the sleaze, Waiguru outrightly blamed Ruto’s office for the scandal, but the DP hit back, telling Waiguru to “give us a break”, stop “catwalking” and take responsibility for the mess.

governor hopeful, Anne Waiguru dances with Kirinyaga residents.

governor hopeful, Anne Waiguru dances with Kirinyaga residents.

Ruto allies dump Mvurya

Some Ruto-allied Jubilee county chiefs who backed Nanok said Mvurya was soft and could easily be overshadowed by Waiguru.

But USIU don Macharia Munene says Waiguru’s new status does not give her a political edge in the succession race.

Munene said Waiguru is simply ambitious, calculative and is already scheming for her reelection as governor in 2022.

“The fact that she has been elevated as the council’s vice chair is good for her, but that does not give her an edge over other potential candidates,” Macharia told the Star yesterday.

“It would just give her prominence —  that’s all. It would be a mistake to assume that just because somebody is chairman or deputy then he or she has an edge. Munya was chairman, but he lost.

“She [Waiguru] is a good politician, but that doesn’t mean she will take over from Uhuru. It just shows she is very ambitious and very calculative and she is playing to ensure she gets reelected as governor in 2022,”

There are reports that Ruto is aggressively reaching out to a section of NASA governors in his 2022 game plan. Those said to be on his radar include Nanok and Kakamega county boss Wycliffe Oparanya. The two are Raila’s allies and senior officials in ODM.

Since his election as CoG chair, Nanok has cozied up to Jubilee and was the only NASA governor at President Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony in Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi.