DP Ruto allies in Ukambani dump his candidate for Kalonzo Musyoka's

Ruto and Kalonzo

Deputy President William Ruto chats with former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre during the official closing ceremony of the 9th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Summit.

Photo credit: DPPS

Four of Deputy President William Ruto's allies have abandoned the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate for the Machakos senator by-election, signaling what analysts say is the thinning of his support base in the region.

The three are the head of the UDA women’s league in Machakos County, Rita Ndunge, former Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala, former Matungulu West MCA Magdalene Ndawa and former Ndalani MCA Stephen Muthuka.

They have abandoned Urbanus Muthama Ngengele and thrown their weight behind Agnes Kavindu Muthama, the Wiper candidate in the March 18 by-election.

While announcing the withdrawal of his support for Mr Ngengele, Mr Kiala noted that he is still a UDA member.

“I remain a staunch supporter of the party’s agenda to uplift the economic status of the average Kenyan citizen,” he said.

The four accompanied Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu chair and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula to campaigns in Bungoma County.

In an interview with the Nation on Saturday, Ms Ndunge, who is a Kenyatta University don, said, “There is no turning back. We are now rallying our supporters behind Agnes Kavindu Muthama.”


The four politicians joined Dr John Musingi, Mr Joseph Mathuki and Ms Lily Nduku who had bolted out of Dr Ruto’s fold earlier.

The seven are among 14 politicians who lost to Mr Ngengele in the contest to fly the UDA flag in the race to replace the late Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka.

Dr Musingi and Ms Nduku reentered the race on Muungano and Chama Cha Uzalendo party tickets, respectively, before the latter pulled out and endorsed John Mutua Katuku, the Maendeleo Chap Chap Party candidate.

The DP, who has also fallen out with President Uhuru Kenyatta is banking on Mr Ngengele’s election to make inroads in Ukambani.

Mr Muthama has, however, been struggling to keep the campaign team united since the selection of the businessman after what they said was an opinion poll commissioned by UDA.

Those who abandoned Mr Ngengele’s camp also cite poor coordination of the party’s campaigns in the region.

They also accuse Mr Ngengele, Mr Muthama, and MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), who are involved in the campaigns, of high handedness. The MPs have dismissed the accusations as baseless.

Big blow for Ruto

Analysts see the fallout as a significant blow to Dr Ruto, who has been struggling to make inroads in Ukambani.

The region has been hostile to him, with Mr Musyoka and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu leading spirited campaigns against him and his associates in the region.

Whereas Ms Ngilu has dwelled on attacking the DP’s character, accusing him of frustrating President Kenyatta’s development mission, former Vice President Musyoka has trained his guns on UDA chairman Muthama, a former Machakos senator and Wiper insider who abandoned the party after falling out with Mr Musyoka.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, who was widely seen as having a soft spot for Dr Ruto, has also joined the push to lock the Deputy President out of the region.

The governor’s meeting on Thursday with ODM leader Raila Odinga and former Unctad boss Mukhisa Kituyi has been seen as an indication that he is charting a new political path.

Sources privy to the governor’s latest political behaviors say the county chief, said to be an astute political schemer, has decried being lost at sea in the same camp as Mr Muthama and former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who have been severely criticised over their approaches to politics.

The governor has denied allegations that he is a member of the TangaTanga formation which is associated with Dr Ruto.

He has not missed a chance to make it known that he is not rowing the same boat with Dr Ruto.

In the upcoming Kitise/Kithuki Ward by-election in Makueni County, for instance, he has abandoned Ms Jacinta Wanza, the New Democrats candidate whose campaign is being bankrolled by UDA, and instead endorsed Joseph Kioko Mutisya, the Muungano Party candidate.

"I warned Ms Wanza against joining Mr Muthama's camp as this is a domestic race,” Prof Kibwana said on Wednesday at Kithuki township, as he campaigned for Mr Kioko ahead of the March 4 poll.

This means that Prof Kibwana is betting big on the outcome of the Kitise/Kithuki ward by-election as he charts a new political path.