The Nation has defended its headline story published on Monday, June 5, following the emergence of a video in which the interviewee appears to recant her story.
The front page story headlined ‘UDA used and dumped me: Ruto’s ‘Mama Mboga’ Pauline Waithira now says’ featured the 70-year-old, who was a common presence in President William Ruto’s campaigns last year.
Ms Waithira, popularly known by her political nickname ‘Mama Mboga’, burst into national limelight on June 4 last year during the homestretch of the presidential campaign that pitted then-deputy President Ruto and his main rival Raila Odinga as the main contenders.
On Saturday, two days before the story was published, she told the ‘Nation’ team in a recorded interview that she is a bitter woman because even after being used to market UDA, she remained poor, with the trappings of power she enjoyed during the campaigns having vanished and none of her powerful friends picking her calls, including Kiambu Senator Karung'o Thang'wa.
But in a video clip shared yesterday by UDA’s seasoned blogger and also CAS nominee Dennis Itumbi, Ms Waithira appears to deny ever sitting down in an interview with ‘Nation’, despite our two-and-half hours at her grocery shop.
“I am very much annoyed. Who told these people I have problems? My house has never been closed, my child has never been sent home and I can afford food because of Ruto,” she says in the video released yesterday by Mr Itumbi.
The ‘Nation’, however, released a video of Saturday’s interview with Ms Waithira, which captures her bitterness with politicians who, she says, used and dumped her.
“They have blocked my calls. Why didn’t they call me even for a celebration after the win, and the way they troubled me all the time during the campaigns,” the video captures Ms Waithira regretting.
Born in Githunguri, Ms Waithira has a son and three grandchildren, all of whom live in a two-room house. She laments that life is very difficult and she finds it hard to feed herself, her sick son and three grandchildren.
In the run-up to the 2022 polls, the Kenya Kwanza team enlisted her services in their campaigns. Riding on the slogan of the downtrodden hustlers — the mama mboga and watu wa boda boda — Waithira was supposed to market the hopeful contestants, as just that. Essentially, she was used as a poster girl to illustrate how the bottom-up model would lift ordinary people into self-reliance.
The trader sensationally claims in the video released by Mr Itumbi that Ruto gifted her Sh300,000 a day after she accompanied him to the Bomas of Kenya to present his nomination papers to the IEBC.
“That is nonsense and I don't want nonsense. Ruto has been my friend since 2013. I have loved him since then, people don’t know why I came to love Ruto.”