Trouble in William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza Alliance as aspirants say they’re being ignored

Deputy President William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua’s visits in central Kenya region have left politicians in small parties affiliated to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance bitter.

The aspirants have convened a crisis meeting to discuss the way forward with a high possibility of a resolution to quit the alliance.

During the political tours, aspirants sponsored by Chama cha Kazi and The Service Party of Kenya, (TSP) were frustrated after the UDA team campaigned for their candidates and denied others the opportunity to address the rallies.

Incidentally, TSP party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri has of late not joined UDA officials and candidates in their political campaigns in central Kenya.

During the DP’s tour, the biggest casualty in Nyandarua was Speaker Wahome Ndegwa who wants to unseat Governor Francis Kimemia. Mr Wahome was openly frustrated and rejected by his Chama cha Kazi party leader Moses Kuria, who appealed to the voters to elect UDA candidate Kiarie Badilisha.

Murathe: The Mt Kenya battle is now between Karua and Gachagua

Trouble between Mr Wahome and Mr Kuria started when the party cancelled his ticket in favour of the UDA candidate, but Mr Wahome, who claims to have paid a Sh500,000 nomination fee for the ticket and an equal amount to support party activities, moved to court and was reinstated.

Drama and humiliation

On the DP’s visit, Mr Wahome downplayed the drama and humiliation. He dismissed Mr Kuria and other UDA party leaders as strangers in Nyandarua whose actions have no impact on his candidature.

“I did not contest so that I’m supported by a party or a stranger to Nyandarua,” said Mr Wahome.

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua acknowledge greetings from wananchi at Karatina town during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on May 21, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Ms Judy Muhia of TSP, who is battling for the Woman Rep seat with UDA’s incumbent Faith Gitau, Chama cha Kazi’s Marion Mwathi and Jubilee’s Wanjiku Muhoho, terms what the DP and his running mate did as a real problem.

TSP deputy secretary-general Waithaka Kirika, who is also vying for the Nyandarua governor seat,  said that UDA has discriminated against candidates from other coalition parties, especially in central Kenya.

“What we have seen is UDA preaching water but drinking wine. Everything about the Kenya Kwanza coalition is suspicious and they have no moral authority to accuse Azimio of insincerity.

“We have received concerns from our party candidates from all over the central Kenya region which has necessitated the convening of a crisis meeting to discuss the way forward, we have no business remaining in a coalition where we are not wanted,” said Mr Kirika.

“There is hypocrisy in all that UDA is doing; they cannot give conditions of 70 per cent votes from western Kenya to Senator Moses Wetang’ula and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi yet the two leaders are expected to accompany the DP in his campaigns all over the country,” said Mr Kirika.

Campaign

“If the DP is sincere, let him facilitate the two leaders to campaign in western Kenya.”

DP Ruto is on a six-day campaign blitz in Mt Kenya in what is seen as an attempt to undo the gains of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition running mate Martha Karua’s recent whirlwind tour of the region.

The two major formations locking horns in the August 9 General Election appear to have picked Mt Kenya as the battleground for the all-important win.

The battle lines became distinct when Ms Karua was named the running mate on May 16 and she kicked off her Mt Kenya onslaught in her home county of Kirinyaga on May 17 in the afternoon. In the morning, she toured Nyandarua County.

On May 18, Ms Karua campaigned in Meru County before proceeding to Tharaka-Nithi on May 19. Late in the evening of the same day, she ventured into Embu County. On May 20, she toured Nyeri and Murang’a counties before proceeding to Kiambu on May 21.

After Ms Karua left Nyandarua on May 17, Dr Ruto visited the area two days later on May 19. Accompanied by Mr Mudavadi, Mr Wetang’ula and Democratic Party’s Justin Muturi, Dr Ruto said Ms Karua was “only helping Odinga sneak into the mountain camouflaged as an asset when we all know he is a liability”.

 Earlier that day, Dr Ruto had attended the burial of Mr Gachagua’s elder brother in Nyeri County before he proceeded to Gatundu South.

On May 20, DP Ruto hosted an economic forum in Embu before he proceeded to Ukambani. The following day, the DP was back in Murang’a, before he headed to Mr Gachagua’s Mathira constituency, and closed the day with rallies in Gatitu and Nyeri town.

Yesterday, both teams were in Kiambu County.

Dr Ruto presided over an economic forum for Limuru constituency in the morning before he went back to Murang’a where he campaigned in Mathioya and Kigumo constituencies.

On the other hand, Mr Odinga was in Kiambu town for a meeting with religious leaders, accompanied by Ms Karua and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

8.6 million votes

Counter attack strategy committee member Joe Nyutu, who is contesting the Murang’a senatorial seat on a UDA ticket, said the Kenya Kwanza team had zeroed in on Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nairobi, Laikipia, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi as the theatre of what he said will be continued efforts to lock the Azimio team. The 11 counties have 8.6 million votes.

“We are privy to the Karua tactical plan in Mt Kenya region ... we have decided that we will keep an eye on her moves and move in with timely responses to avert her effect,” Mr Nyutu said.

 Yesterday, Ms Karua maintained that she is on the ground to give Kenya Kwanza a run for its money.

“They need not panic because I have not even started in the follies ... they should wait for my second round and the third that will impart the sucker punch, leaving Mr Odinga as the region’s candidate of choice,” said Ms Karua in an interview on Inooro TV.

 About pockets of heckling that have characterised her campaigns in the region, she said: “They don’t have the guts to face me. They can only send children whom they have fed on alcohol and drugs to do the dirty job for them. I dare them to confront me one on one and we shall deal.”

“By virtue of speaking the area language, understanding the political dynamics and terrain, I have seen the UDA euphoria build and I understand how it was the case. I am bringing a counter-narrative that will certainly tilt the scales,” she said.

Yesterday, Mr Gachagua sought to downplay the DP’s forays of the mountain after Ms Karua’s, saying the Kenya Kwanza team is out vote hunting just as they have been.

“Karua is not an issue to us since she is not our competitor ... we don’t want at any time to lose our focus on Mr Odinga who is our common political problem.”

  Kandara MP Alice Wahome, another Ruto ally, said the political direction of the mountain had not changed.

“Ms Karua is not competing against Dr Ruto hence why we are not interested in her activities,” she said Ms Wahome. Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said Ms Karua had made no gains in the region.

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