Former Kisii governor James Ongwae, ex-Gusii MPs ditch Azimio for Kenya Kwanza

William Ruto

President-elect William Ruto meets Gusii leaders who decamped from Azimio la Umoja Coalition to Kenya Kwanza at his Karen residence on September 9, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

Former Kisii Governor James Ongwae and a host of politicians from Gusii who lost in the August 9 General Election, have ditched Raila Odinga's Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition and joined President-elect William Ruto's camp. 

The leaders drawn from Kisii and Nyamira counties met Dr Ruto at his Karen home on Friday morning in what they said was the beginning of a new partnership with the new government. 

Mr Ongwae, former Transport Chief Administrative Secretary and Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Chris Obure, former Kisii Woman Rep Janet Ong’era, ex-MPs Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North), Richard Tong'i (Nyaribari Chache), Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Manson Nyamweya (South Mugirango) and Zadock Ogutu (Bomachoge Borabu) were in attendance. 

The Abagusii council of elders chairman Araka Matundura was also present. 

 “We did not talk much, but we congratulated him (President-elect William Ruto) for his victory and asked him to work with the Abagusii community," said Mr Matundura, adding that they will have further discussions with Dr Ruto once he has taken the oath of office. 

Mr Nyamweya, the Kenya National Congress (KNC) Party leader said, "Yes, I attended the meeting with President-elect Dr Ruto." 

ODM National Treasurer Mr Timothy Bosire, while regretting the move by some of the Gusii leaders, asked them to respect public institutions. 

 "We are in the process of coming to terms with and taking stock of what happened (election loss). We are in a democratic setup and we must safeguard public institutions," said Mr Bosire. 

He added, "It's too soon to talk about those issues (defections). If we are developing the society, we should make constructive decisions.”

At one time, Kisii Governor Simba Arati and Senator Richard Onyonka claimed that some leaders from the region were secretly campaigning for the Kenya Kwanza Coalition candidates.

Early this week, some of the leaders from the region said they will support Dr Ruto. They formed the Taifa Democratic Coalition (TDC).

Mr Nyamweya, the TCD leader, said the coalition had already submitted its post-election agreement to the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu.

Mr Nyamweya told Nation.Africa that three political parties that were initially not in any coalition have come together and formed TDC.

The coalition comprises Kenya National Congress (KNC), Kenya Social Congress (KSC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“We are congratulating Dr Ruto on his win. We are ready to support him at both levels of government,” said Mr Nyamweya who had been a close ally of Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga.

“TDC will be headed by KNC party leader Nyamweya, who has majority MCAs in the three parties forming the new coalition,” said KNC Secretary-General Ben Gesore.

KSC party leader is Atati Kengere while PDP’s is Eric Mbiu. KNC has five MCAs while KSC and PDP have three each. The total number of elected MCAs in the coalition is 11.

Mr Gesore said the numbers will increase to at least 19 after the nominated MCAs are added to the list.

He said the Kenya Kwanza Alliance party being the minority in Kisii County Assembly, they are likely to team up with TDC as the main opposition coalition against Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition.

“We are hoping to have more parties on our side once the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition agreement comes to an end,” said Mr Gesore.

South Mugirango MP and Dr Ruto pointman in Kisii Silvanus Osoro had criticised the Gusii delegation’s visit to Dr Ruto saying Kenya Kwanza has no room for 'opportunists'.