Inside 24,000 ward-level battle for UDA in five counties

UDA polls

Former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero votes during the second phase of the UDA primaries at Asumbi Primary School in Rangwe, Homa Bay County on  May 18, 2024.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

More than 24,000 United Democratic Alliance (UDA) members are battling forward positions in today’s elections, whose outcome has far-reaching political ramifications for top national leaders.

As the ward delegates—who were elected at the polling centre level—troop to ward centres to cast their ballots today, a potential fallout is looming, with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua increasingly coming under attack in his Mt Kenya region. Big shots in President William Ruto’s party are pulling strings behind the scenes to install their loyalists in a scheme that could occasion a major split between winners and losers in the party contest.

UDA National Elections Board chairperson Anthony Mwaura said the elections in the five counties of Nairobi, Narok, West-Pokot, Busia and Homa Bay will be held in a total of 225 ward centres. In Nairobi, the exercise will be conducted in 85 wards, 40 wards in Narok, 45 in Homa Bay, Busia (35) and West Pokot (20).

Mr Mwaura said more than 24,000 delegates had applied by Wednesday to contest in the five counties. This implies that the party has collected more than Sh24 million from the candidates since they are each required to pay a non-refundable fee of Sh1,000.

There are 18 positions at the ward level, including chairperson and deputy, secretary and deputy, treasurer, youth and women representatives, and farmers professionals representatives.

Mr Mwaura disclosed that the party has prepared a physical register to avert cases of missing names in the digital register as witnessed during the polling centre level elections.

“We gave the delegates seven days to verify their names in the register. So we don’t expect challenges with names missing,” he said.

The party has also opted to hire poll officials from outside the counties holding polls to address concerns that some of them were allied to senior politicians.

In last month’s elections, the party witnessed pockets of violence. This has forced the ruling outfit to seek the intervention of Inspector-General of Police Japheth Koome, who has authorised deployment of two police offices in each ward centre.

The party disclosed that some of those who were involved in the chaos have been arraigned. In Nairobi, seven people have been charged while in Narok and West Pokot, seven and six individuals, respectively have been charged.