More than half of the first crop of county governors have either lost or are on the verge of losing their plum jobs following the polls conducted on Tuesday.
As chief executive officers of counties, the governors are seen as the most important cog in the wheel of devolution, a system which Kenya adopted after the 2013 General Election. They hire county staff and play a key role in setting county priorities and allocating resources to achieve them.
The governors have been on the receiving end, battling claims of nepotism in staff hiring as well as corruption and wastage of public funds.
Provisional results from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday showed that at least 24 governors may be heading home after their rivals opened big lead.
The governors facing defeat include Evans Kidero of Nairobi who was trailing Senator Mike Sonko, Jack Ranguma who was behind Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o and Isaac Ruto who appeared headed for a crushing defeat by former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso.
In Bungoma, Governor Kenneth Lusaka was trailing Wycliffe Wangamati of Ford Kenya by a wide gap while Meru’s Peter Munya was narrowly behind Senator Kiraitu Murungi.
In Nyeri, Samuel Wamathai who came to power after the death of the combative Nderitu Gachagua lost to former Vision 2030 director Wahome Gakuru.
Other presumed losers include Joseph Ndathi who faces defeat from former powerful Devolution secretary Anne Waiguru as Kirinyaga governor.
Mr Godana Doyo was by Wednesday playing second fiddle to former Livestock minister Mohamed Kuti in the Isiolo gubernatorial race.
In western Kenya, Moses Akaranga was trailing ODM’s Wilber Khasilwa Ottichilo by a wide margin in the race for Vihiga governor. The same fate was befalling Dr Julius Malombe in Kitui, Nyandarua’s Daniel Waithaka and Joshua Irungu of Laikipia.
From the Coast, Issa Timamy of Lamu, Tana River’s Hussein Dado and Taita/Taveta’s John Mruttu were all trailing.
In the north, Ukur Yattani was behind Jubilee Party’s Mohamud Mohamed as Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi trailed Mohamed Abdi Mahamud.
Garissa Wiper’s Jama Nathif looked likely to lose to Ali Bunow Korane while Kajiado’s David Nkedienye was behind former Interior secretary Joseph ole Lenku.