Running mate in Machakos race defects two weeks to polls

Rose Wambua joins Waita's camp

Ms Rose Wambua (right) with Chama Cha Uzalendo Party governor candidate Nzioka Waita and his running mate Florence Mwangangi. Ms Wambua, who was Maendeleo Chap Chap governor candidate Francis Maliti's running mate, defected from the party to support Mr Waita.

Photo credit: Stephen Muthini | Nation Media Group

Two weeks to the ballot, Maendeleo Chap Chap party gubernatorial candidature in Machakos County has been thrown into disarray following the defection of Ms Rose Wambua, candidate Francis Maliti's running mate in the race.

Ms Wambua announced her defection to Chama Cha Uzalendo Party, affiliated with governor candidate Nzioka Waita, at Mbondoni Holy Family Catholic Church in Kangundo on Sunday.

Despite the move, Ms Wambua's name may still appear in the ballot paper alongside Mr Maliti's given the short span to the election unless the IEBC effects the changes, according to lawyer Florence Mwangangi.

Ms Mwangangi, the speaker of Machakos County Assembly and Mr Waita’s running mate, however, asked voters to disregard Ms Wambua's name as Maliti's running mate oif it appears in the ballot and instead vote for Mr Waita whom she said had the right qualifications and agenda for the people of Machakos County.

Speaking to the faithful at the church, accompanied by CCU governor candidate Nzioka Waita and Ms Mwangangi, Ms Wambua said she had read the signs of the times and decided to join the winning team.

“Having been on the other side (Maliti's camp), I have done comparison with what Nzioka Waita has done in terms of public management and what his agenda for us is. I was also burdened with the baggage of the incumbent government where Mr Maliti is the deputy governor and so I decided to join Waita who is the new broom that will sweep our county clean,” said Ms Wambua.

Ms Wambua also vied for the Kangundo parliamentary seat in the last General Election.

She said the people of Kangundo will have a stake in the next government should Mr Waita win the election as she had been promised an executive position in the country government.

Ms Wambua said she had calculated and vastly consulted before making the decision to ditch Mr Maliti, adding that Mr Waita had been courting her politically for about a year even after she became Mr Maliti's running mate.

“He kept on courting me even after joining the other camp and told me this was indeed the right time to jump ship,” said Ms Wambua.

While welcoming her to his campaign team, Mr Waita described Ms Wambua as 'an institution' in Kangundo politics adding he was now assured of a 60 percent win.

Mr Waita challenged former Machakos Senator and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party governor candidate, Johnson Muthama, to quit the race as 'his time was up'.

“Madam Rose Wambua is an institution in Kangundo and Matungulu politics and so we are now assured of a win. And this is the message to those still remaining in the race, to my friend and my uncle Johnson Muthama, leave this seat alone. Your time has passed. Leave this seat alone and we will treat you with respect as a senior statesman of our community,” said Mr Waita.

He said the people were not interested in mere politics but in a leadership that could steer the residents out of poverty.

There have been a series of defections mainly between the Waita and Wavinya Ndeti's camps in the recent past as the campaigns peak with each political camp raiding the other in a competition that is billed to be close.