The battle for the Nakuru governor's seat in the August 8 elections is now set to be a heated race after the incumbent Kinuthia Mbugua officially announced he will defend the seat as an independent candidate.
After keeping the residents and his supporters guessing, Mr Kinuthia has Friday announced that he will fight it out with the Jubilee nominee, Mr Lee Kinyanjui.
Following Mr Mbugua's latest announcement, Mr Kinyanjui responded by accusing the governor of making Nakuru a "laughing stock" due to his poor leadership.
"No matter which party Governor Mbugua joins, his fate is decided as the ordinary citizens are tired of a corrupt system that has made the residents poorer in the era of devolution," said Mr Kinyanjui.
Addressing journalists at Top Cliff Hotel in Nakuru Town, Governor Mbugua said he was not satisfied with the way his appeal was dealt with by the Jubilee tribunal prompting him to go independent.
"This is also a means of exhausting my appeal process after it was rejected by the tribunal," he added.
He said as an independent candidate he will be stronger and useful to the Jubilee Party in the coming elections.
Mr Mbugua exuded confidence that he will avenge the humiliating defeat he suffered at the hands of the Jubilee flag bearer.
Mr Kinyanjui won the Jubilee ticket after polling 216,385 votes while Mr Mbugua garnered 150,137 votes.
VISION FOR NAKURU
"I had a very good vision and had started many programmes which are halfway and I think it would be unfair to leave the people of Nakuru hanging without completing what I had vowed to accomplish," said Mr Mbugua.
At the same time Mr Mbugua unveiled his running mate, Dr Peter Ketyenya, who lost in the Kuresoi South parliamentary Jubilee primaries.
"I have consulted my current Deputy Governor Joseph Ruto and he has expressed his wish not to [be] a running mate and I respect his wishes but we still remain as good friends," said Mr Mbugua.
He thanked the residents of Nakuru who voted for him during the primaries saying it was clear they had trust in his leadership.
"The [big] turnout was a great sacrifice and personal commitment and for that reason I salute and honour the people of Nakuru," said Mr Mbugua.
He said after he lost the nominations he consulted widely and listened to varied views from groups, individuals, community and religious leaders, professionals, the business community and his family members.
"All these groups have expressed their reservations on both the process and outcome of the (Jubilee) nomination and it is because of their wise advice that I have decided to vie an independent candidate," said Mr Mbugua.
He said even as an independent candidate he will still join hands with the people of Nakuru to campaign for the re-election of President Kenyatta.
He cautioned the residents of Nakuru against being deceived by the opposition and urged them to support Jubilee.
Dr Ketyenya said he was happy that the governor picked him as a running mate and said he will help Mr Mbugua win the seat.
"I have 15 years' experience in the public sector and with [it] I hope to help Governor Mbugua retain the seat," said Dr Ketyenya.