Kingi and Mutua defections put party aspirants in a fix

George Kithi

PAA gubernatorial candidate in Kilifi County George Kithi (right) receives his nomination certificate from the party chairman Ibrahim Mtwafy Babangida at the party head office in Nyali, Mombasa on April 27, 2022. 

Photo credit: Courtesy

Tuesday was a bad day for Kilifi governor hopeful George Kithi.

First, his Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) party signed a deal with Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza, a coalition that is bracing itself for tough battle in a county that overwhelmingly voted for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in 2013 and 2017.

Then Garissa Township MP Aden Duale ejected him from the “Kilifi lineup” during a press conference addressed by Dr Ruto. 

Mr Kithi wanted to be on the right hand side of the DP after his rival in the governor contest in the same alliance, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, secured a spot on the left side.

Unfortunately, the Garissa Township MP spotted him.

Mr Kithi is not the only victim in the ever shifting political alliances.

Imagine that aspirant who secured a PAA of Governor Amason Kingi or Maendeleo Chap (MCC) Chap of Governor Alfred Mutua ticket to run for a political seat in ODM leader Raila Odinga’s backyard of Nyanza or Coast.

What are the chances for MCC aspirants in Ukambani, where Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has lined up incumbents to defend their seats in an area perceived to be a stronghold of Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka?

Several hopefuls avoided competitive primaries in the dominant parties and instead were handed direct tickets by fringe outfits under the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition party.

The plan by the aspirants in the more than 26 Azimio outfits was to ride on the coalition’s wave in the region by campaigning for Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.

The fact that Mr Odinga will be running on Azimio has also handed them a lifeline by cushioning them from hostility in areas that have never embraced other parties. 

A majority have printed campaign merchandise with Mr Odinga’s image, Azimio symbols, logos and colours to boot. Some have erected giant billboards.

For these politicians to align to the new development, they will be required to reprint other merchandise and start selling DP Ruto’s candidacy.

Some areas may reject this, expose the aspirants to hostility.

MCC has fielded ward representative aspirants in Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Busia and Homa Bay counties – Mr Odinga’s backyard.

Some hopefuls have publicly denounced the decision to move to Kenya Kwanza, saying they remain in Mr Odinga’s camp.

“We are telling our people that Governor Mutua joined Kenya Kwanza as an individual. MCC solidly remains in Azimio,” Musanda Ward (Kakamega) aspirant John Rapando said.

Mr Sunday Aboka, who is contesting the Nyalenda B ward seat on an MCC ticket has in Facebook posts said he still backs Mr Odinga’s State House bid.

He cited the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal ruling that rejected MCC’s attempt to leave Azimio.

“I am on the ballot on an MCC ticket and still support Odinga,” Mr Aboka said.

“Maendeleo Chap Chap is still in Azimio. A political party is simply a vessel but leadership is a person while prosperity is our collective goal. A powerful leadership vision always prevails.”

The anxiety is replicated in Kilifi, where PAA has aspirants for various seats.

Mr Kithi will now face Ms Jumwa within Kenya Kwanza and former Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro, the ODM candidate.

In the 2017 General Election, ODM took all the parliamentary seats, Senate, woman representative and governor . It also has a majority in the county assembly.

PAA candidates will now have to fight the ODM wave as they will be campaigning against the Azimio presidential hopeful.

In Ukambani, MCC aspirants will face strong intra-coalition opposition as they fight Wiper.

Machakos, Kitui and Makueni counties have traditionally supported Wiper Party chief Kalonzo Musyoka. 

Dr Ruto has taken into his fold MPs Vincent Musau (Mwala), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East). They will defend their seats on UDA tickets.

Should the coalition take the consensus route, MCC hopefuls will likely be the casualties.

Dr Mutua wants his deputy, Francis Maliti, to succeed him.

Mr Maliti is expected to face UDA chairman and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama in the governor race.

Mr Wilfred Nyamu of MCC wants to be Kitui senator. He will face incumbent Enoch Wambua of Wiper.

Former Machakos Health executive Ancent Kituku is going for the Kangundo parliamentary seat and Kiima Kimwe MCA Caleb Mule has set eyes on Machakos Town.

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