Ruto allies fight for UDA party slots

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • UDA  Secretary-General Veronica Maina said the party has identified interim officials and already has a constitution.
  • The party says it has identified volunteers who will assist in recruiting and registering members at county level. 

United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a party linked to Deputy President William Ruto, will hold grassroots polls on June 18 even as disputes among leaders allied to the outfit rage. 

The DP yesterday met MPs to discuss the elections, how to maintain the “Hustler Nation” campaign in the face of the pandemic and recruiting members. 

“We are building a party from the grassroots. We will show our detractors and those who don’t like democracy that is it possible,” Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said. 

Dr Ruto told members not to dwell on the recent by-election losses but focus on the 2022 General Election and building alliances.

UDA  Secretary-General Veronica Maina said the party has identified interim officials and already has a constitution.

“We invite members to familiarise themselves with the UDA constitution at http://www.uda.ke or at the party headquarters,” Ms Maina said. 

The party says it has identified volunteers who will assist in recruiting and registering members at county level. 

The volunteers will also identify constituency, ward and centre coordinators.

“Coordinators must work with UDA members and leaders under the direction of the party headquarters,” Ms Maina said. 

Stop fighting 

Yesterday, Dr Ruto asked lawmakers and other leaders to stop fighting. 

In Nakuru, a faction led by Senator Susan Kihika and another under Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri are battling for the control of UDA. At the centre of the storm is who should be the regional coordinator.

Senator Kihika’s group is fronting former Rongai parliamentary hopeful Paul Chebor while the other faction prefers Mr Ngunjiri’s daughter Edith Kimani.

“UDA has not conducted elections yet Mr Ngunjiri wants to install his daughter as the county co-ordinator,” Mr Chebor told the Nation by phone. 

Grace Gitau and Senator Susan Kihika

Nyandarua Woman Representative Grace Gitau (left) and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika campaign for UDA candidate Anthony Nzuki on February 28, 2021 ahead of the London ward by-election.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group 

“He does not want to listen to members. We’ll not allow Mr Ngunjiri to meddle with the affairs of UDA.”

However, Mr Ngunjiri downplayed the divisions.

“UDA is very strong in Nakuru. The few teething problems will be addressed properly very soon,” said Mr Ngunjiri, who is also the chairman of Nakuru county lawmakers. 

“Let members remain calm and united. Peace should be our top priority. When we announced that there would be coordinators, it was perhaps understood wrongly. We have not even launched the party.”

The Bahati MP said UDA wants to create and maintain peace in Nakuru as the country heads to the General Election next year. 

Party wrangles

“I have made it clear that our main objective is to unite Kenyans. It is unfortunate when some people feel they have been left out,” he said. 

Efforts to reach Senator Kihika were futile as she did not respond to calls and text messages.

Several members have left a local WhatsApp group called “Nakuru UDA Coordination WhatsApp” following bitter exchanges between the two factions.

The wrangles come barely a month after the party won the London ward by-election.

UDA candidate Anthony Nzuki beat 18 rivals, including Jubilee’s Francis Njoroge.

The senator and Mr Ngunjiri have been positioning themselves as influencers of UDA politics in Nakuru, each seeking to win Dr Ruto’s approval.

Ms Kihika has announced intention to contest the Nakuru governor seat.

The two were considered enemies long before the 2013 General Election but they later reconciled, thanks to Dr Ruto.

They again fell out though they are in the Deputy President’s camp.  

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