UDA downplays Laikipia defections

Azimio la Umoja running mate Martha Karua receiving a group of Laikipia UDA ward coordinators during a political rally in Nanyuki last Wednesday. UDA officials claims the defectors were no longer members of their party, having been kicked out in April this year.

Photo credit: Ndirangu Mwangi I Nation Media Group

United Democratic Alliance leaders in Laikipia have termed the ‘purported’ defections of some grassroots coordinators as inconsequential.

County youth coordinator James Wambugu Abuhi told the Nation that those who claimed to have decamped from the party on Wednesday during a visit by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition running mate Martha Karua had ceased to be members in April.

“I know all of them and they had positioned themselves during the party primaries so that they could manipulate the outcome in favour of certain candidates. We kicked them out after we discovered their motives,” said Mr Abuhi.

He described their move to Azimio as “good riddance” because they had never been loyal to UDA.

“It is bad to lose members to your competitor since every vote counts at the ballot [box]. But having a mole in your party with bad intentions is even worse,” said Mr Abuhi.

Last Wednesday, Ms Karua received about 60 county UDA coordinators mainly from Laikipia West and Laikipia North constituencies. They were handed over to Ms Karua by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi at a political rally in Nanyuki town.

Mr Muriithi said the defections showed that Azimio presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga was gaining momentum and exuded confidence that he would get more votes than Dr Ruto in the region.

“Voters are looking forward to a leader who will improve the country’s economy and Kenyans’ livelihoods. They have weighed the options and realised that Azimio la Umoja has a clear development agenda,” said the governor.

Mr Muriithi, who chairs the Azimio campaign board, said he would receive 12 more defectors this week, describing the development as a sign that his efforts to market Mr Odinga were bearing fruit.

One of the defectors, Mr Joakim Kuraru, a longtime close ally of Laikipia North parliamentary aspirant Mathew Lempurkel, said he was until Wednesday the Segera ward UDA coordinator.

“I am today decamping from UDA because I am a great admirer of Governor Muriithi’s performance track record,” he said.

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