Blow to Azimio as Jubilee Embu gubernatorial candidate decamps to UDA
The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition has suffered a blow after the Embu Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Emilio Kathuri stepped down in favour of his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) rival Cecily Mbarire.
Mr Kathuri, who joined the Kenya Kwanza Alliance on Thursday evening, was received by Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi.
While defecting, Mr Kathuri said he was happy to be “accepted into the Hustler family”.
Following the defection, Mr Kathuri came under scathing attack by Embu Jubilee leaders.
Led by the local Jubilee chairman Muriithi Kiura, the leaders dismissed Mr Kathuri as a liability to the party.
"He was always complaining that he was not being supported by Jubilee instead of campaigning for himself and our Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga," lamented Mr Kiura.
The leaders said Mr Kathuri's move will not in any way affect Mr Odinga's votes in the region.
Was not even popular
"Kathuri was not even popular in the region and it is good that he has left so that we can back the Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) gubernatorial candidate Lenny Kivuti whose political outfit is affiliated to Azimio," the Jubilee Senatorial candidate Lilian Mbogo said.
Mr Kathuri's running mate, Emily Njuki admitted that she had also been approached by UDA to ditch Jubilee but she declined.
Ms Njuki said it was sad that her boss has stepped down to support his UDA political competitor.
"Mr Kathuri has abandoned the county agenda we had set together. But after lengthy consultations and deep reflection I have decided to stay put in the Jubilee and support the ruling party's agenda of capturing as many seats as possible in the region," she said.
She asked her supporters to remain united and in support of Jubilee candidates from the region.
Ms Njuki called on her supporters to turn out in large numbers on August 9 and vote for Odinga so that he can be the fifth President of Kenya.
Mr Kathuri did not pick our calls.