Mass action: Matiang'i-linked UPA party chooses Ruto over Raila
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), one of the parties in the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition and associated with former Interior CS Fred Matiang’i will not participate in the mass action called by Mr Raila Odinga or any of his plans to pressure the government.
The Party, which has its roots in Gusii, has instead pledged to work with President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza administration, its officials told the Nation on Wednesday.
The move may deny Mr Odinga and his brigade the momentum they need for mass action to kick off in the region.
Speaking to the Nation after holding its first-ever meeting since after elections, party leader Mr Amos Nyaribo, who is also the Nyamira Governor, said although they have not ditched Azimio, they are keen to work with the current government for the greater good of Kenyans.
Mr Nyaribo met with UPA elected and nominated leaders at Kamel Park Hotel in Kisii on Monday where he spelt out the party's agenda going forward.
The party, which was launched towards the 2022 General Election, bagged seats among them the Nyamira governor, Bonchari MP and about 20 members of Nyamira and Kisii county assemblies. In Nyamira, UPA is the majority party.
“It is true we held a meeting on Monday with elected leaders. But I want to make it clear that we have not joined Kenya Kwanza and we will not fold to join the United Democratic Alliance. But we have decided to work with the government of the day,” said Mr Nyaribo.
He added that they were observing how the ruling government will treat them going forward which will determine their future decisions.
Sources told the Nation that at the Monday meeting, it was agreed that they tone down their criticism of the government.
“We were asked to go slow on fighting the government of the day. We were told to support it in its development agenda,” said a source who attended the Monday meeting.
The source further informed that following the new resolutions, the elected leaders will not participate in the mass action called by Mr Odinga on March 20, 2023.
Sidelined in many decisions
“It should be noted that we were not treated fairly while in Azimio. We were sidelined in many decisions and even in rallies, you could see openly that the coalition had its ‘owners’,” said another source who attended the meeting.
The party officials say they complained to the Azimio coalition leaders but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
“You see, Azimio was only focused on the top leadership. In the counties, it was everyone for himself. Leaders in the same coalition fought viciously as they competed against each other. It was bad,” the source added.
The source said that the competition was not healthy because some contenders for various seats in the counties were preferred by top Azimio leaders.
“There was open bias and some contenders really suffered in that Azimio. But politics is behind us now and it is time to deliver on our mandate to the electorate,” the source added.
Rigoma MCA Nyambega Gisesa who was elected on a UPA ticket welcomed the decision by his party leader, Mr Nyaribo, to work with the government of the day.
“We welcome the move and look forward to welcoming President Ruto in Kisii and Nyamira counties,” said Mr Gisesa.
President Ruto is expected in Gusii on March 24 for the homecoming ceremony of Education CS Ezekiel Machogu.
“We are ready to receive the President in our region. We want development,” said Mr Gisesa.
During UPA’s launch last year, Mr Nyaribo asked the Gusii community to rally behind it to boost their bargaining power in the government.
He said the new political outfit plays a big role in uniting the Gusii community.