Lucy Ng’endo Njoroge, a candidate backed by Deputy President William Ruto, has bagged the Jubilee ticket to contest the Huruma ward seat in the upcoming by-election slated for March 4.
Ms Njoroge, the widow of former Huruma MCA Peter Kiiru Chomba, garnered 979 votes in the party primaries on Saturday, flooring her competitors Francis Maina Njoroge, who came second with 508 votes, and Lucy Njamba (213 votes).
The nominations, which witnessed a low turnout, were marred by chaos, forcing police to lob tear gas canisters at irate youths, who were protesting use of the national identity card instead of the voter’s card during the polls. It later went on without disruptions.
Ms Njoroge was handed the interim certificate by Jubilee membership director Nicodemus Bore after the party’s returning officer Fredrick Serem declared her the winner.
In her victory speech, Ms Njoroge urged her opponents to join her in the battle and help her deliver the seat to the ruling party.
“The journey has just begun and I urge those who participated in this exercise to work closely with me,” she said.
Her nomination sets the stage for a bruising battle between the DP and former prime minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.
ODM on Wednesday issued its nomination certificate to Mr Andrew Ouma, making him the party’s flag-bearer in the by-election in the DP’s home turf at a ceremony presided over by deputy leader Wycliffe Oparanya at Chungwa House in Nairobi.
The Deputy President endorsed Ms Njoroge during the burial of her husband last year.
“It’s good if we allow Mama Lucy to have this seat so that she completes the term of our departed brother Chomba. Therefore, we’re going to have discussions on how to implement this,” the DP said during Chomba’s burial in October.
The endorsement boosted the widow’s chances of winning the seat, but with an ODM candidate’s entry in a cosmopolitan ward with over 30,000 votes, the ground is set for an epic duel.
ODM North Rift Coordinator Kipkorir Menjo said the party will embark on door-to-door campaigns to ensure they win the seat. Mr Menjo told the Nation that ODM’s entry in the race in the DP’s political backyard will also give the party an opportunity to popularise itself and its policies ahead of next year’s General Election.
Eldoret politician Zedekiah Bundotich, alias Buzeki, has prevailed upon his preferred candidate, Mr James Wachira, who was to vie as an Independent, to support Ms Njoroge.
Leaders allied to Mr Buzeki, who last year decamped from Jubilee to Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party led by James Wachira, yesterday said they unanimously support Ms Njoroge’s candidature.
Mr Wachira was to vie as an independent candidate. He said he made the decision after consulting Buzeki and other prominent leaders in the county.
In a statement, Buzeki praised Mr Wachira for the move and pledged to support Ms Njoroge’s campaigns fully.
Respect for family
The DP, who hails from Turbo constituency, said Ms Chomba is fit to succeed her husband.
“Though residents should be allowed to exercise their democratic right when electing a leader, it was also imperative to show respect to the family of the deceased,” Mr Ruto said during the funeral service at Huruma Grounds.
He added: “God will give us a chance to get somebody who takes his position at the county assembly and it will come from the family.” Ms Njoroge already understood assembly matters, having served as a nominated MCA from 2013 to 2017, he said.
Chomba, who had also served as a councillor in the defunct Eldoret Municipal Council, died at an Eldoret hospital after developing breathing complications.