Cracks in Kenya Kwanza as Kabogo, Kuria boycott Gachagua Kiambu rally

Ruto and Gachagua campaign

A picture on a campaign trailer shows Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto (Left) and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party during their first rally after being officially nominated as Presidential candidates by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

There were signs of schismatic movements within the Kenya Kwanza Alliance in Mt Kenya region on Thursday after two parties skipped a Kiambu rally addressed by their presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua.

Chama Cha Kazi Party leader Moses Kuria and Tujibebe Wakenya chair William Kabogo gave the meeting a wide berth, a day after clashing with United Democratic Alliance gubernatorial candidate Kimani Wamatangi.

They cited “humiliation” and “voter incitement” by UDA leaders in the battle for Kiambu, which has nearly two million registered voters, the second highest county after Nairobi.

UDA has been campaigning for its candidates in joint rallies, leaving affiliated parties such as CCK and Tujibebe at a disadvantage, especially in meetings addressed by either Deputy President William Ruto or Mr Gachagua.

Tension was high in Lari on Wednesday evening when Mr Wamatangi and Mr Kabogo confronted each other at a campaign stop as both seek to unseat Dr James Nyoro at the governor’s mansion.

Mr Kuria said they withdrew from yesterday’s events because they felt unwanted and humiliated. “They want us to campaign for their presidential candidate but they don’t want us to market our aspirants to voters. This totally unfair and unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Kuria said the Wednesday incident was well planned by UDA leaders, adding that they had shared their frustrations with the party executive.

“What happened in the Hustler Express caravan in Kiambu on Wednesday is regrettable. The ugly altercation between Mr Kabogo and Senator Wamatangi is unfortunate. I can feel Mr Kabogo’s pain,” he offered.

“The local UDA leadership met their parliamentary and civic candidates for three days to plot how to embarrass Mr Kabogo and myself during the tour. MCAs and MPs associates with us were warned of dire consequences. This chicanery is unhealthy for our fledgling alliance,” he added.

Mr Kuria said they would raise the matter with other coalition co-principals to ensure campaigns are managed smoothly going forward.

“It is imperative that we live with not only the letter but also the spirit of the coalition. Otherwise, it will be tantamount to politics of conmanship and deceit. We will be raising these concerns with our co-principals as provided for in the alliance instruments,” he observed.

Mr Gachagua and Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba were yesterday heckled at a rally in Githunguri, where the latter is seeking the parliamentary seat on a UDA ticket.

While addressing supporters in roadside rallies in Githunguri, Kwa Maiko, Kiganjo, Gatundu town, Kamwangi and Gatukuyu, Mr Gachagua said UDA will lower the cost of living by reducing prices of crucial commodities.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen lamented that only UDA candidates were being frustrated by government agencies over their academic qualifications.

“UDA candidates are being taken round in circles before they are cleared by the electoral agency yet the Azimio la Umoja flagbearer Raila Odinga has no any known academic qualifications,” he said.