Waiguru dumps Uhuru party for DP Ruto’s UDA

POLITICS |
President Uhuru Kenyatta is received by Deputy President William Ruto and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru for the official opening of the Sixth Devolution Conference at Kirinyaga University grounds, March 5, 2019. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Pushed to the wall by the shifting political ground in Mt Kenya, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has dumped President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party for Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance.

Mrs Waiguru yesterday signalled her exit from the ruling party and entry into Ruto’s party in Thiba Ward yesterday.

In recent times, the governor’s support for Jubilee Party has been wobbly. Her defection yesterday was similarly shaky. Like the perfect politician, she turned to an ecstatic crowd to provide some assurance, feigning hesitancy.

“Mimi nitawauliza ndugu zangu na dada zangu, kwa sababu naskia mtanirudisha, mnataka nikuje na chama gani huku Kirinyaga? (I ask you my brothers and sisters, because I’m told you will reelect me, which party should I use),” posed Waiguru.

The crowd responded with emphatic UDA chants.

“Nikikuja na hio chama mnasema mtanirudisha 2022? Mimi ntasema sio mimi nlisema. Niliuliza wananchi na vile wananchi wanasema, hio ndio njia tutafuata. (If I vie on that party ticket, will you reelect me come 2022? I will say, about my move, that I followed the will of my constituents),” she added.

Her exit from JP was just a matter of time. Earlier this month, Waiguru complained that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was being used to frustrate her after she raised concerns on Jubilee’s future.

Last week, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka led a delegation to Waiguru’s Kagio home to woo her to join the One Kenya Alliance.

She had also held meetings with ODM leader Raila Odinga and ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, who are reportedly courting her for the running-mate position come 2022.

During a recent interview with The Standard, Waiguru said conversations with different presidential candidates had begun but was quick to note that she had not made any commitment since she was still consulting. She promised to announce her decision after Mashujaa Day celebrations. “There have been conversations on whether I will opt for the running ate post and to who among the presidential contenders. I’m honoured since it’s not every day that you have people considering you as their running mate,” the governor said.

Her entry into UDA, however, complicates matters for Ruto. Waiguru will face off with Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici for the UDA gubernatorial ticket. Ms Ngirici is an ally of the DP. Ngirici had long dared Waiguru to bring it on, in UDA. “If the people of Kirinyaga decide that you (Waiguru) are going to be their next governor, I am willing to support you. But if I beat you during nominations, you’ll have to support me,” she said.

Meanwhile, Waiguru has urged Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua to focus on her role as Mount Kenya Unity Forum spokesperson and drop the bid for Kirinyaga governorship.

She warned Ms Karua of defeat should she pursue the governorship. Waiguru was confident that Kirinyaga residents would re-elect her owing to her development record. “My sister who I trounced in 2017 should know that the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat is already filled in 2022. Let her continue serving the responsibility she was accorded as a spokesperson for that caucus,” she said.

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