Starehe MP race: UDA snubs Jaguar, gives ticket to opponent

Starehe MP Charles Kanyi, alias Jaguar, poses for a picture with DP William Ruto after Jaguar joined UDA on January 24, 2022. [Courtesy of William Ruto]

Starehe Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Kanyi, alias Jaguar, won’t seek re-election on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.

This is after UDA gave nomination certificate to East African Legislative Assembly MP Simon Mbugua.

Mbugua took to his official Facebook page on Thursday, April 21, to reveal that he’d been awarded the UDA ticket.

“God is indeed great. This evening I received my [UDA] nomination certificate. I take this opportunity to thank the great people of Starehe for nominating me,” he said.

Jaguar claims Starehe constituents were denied the opportunity to choose their preferred UDA candidate through the ballot.

According to Jaguar, UDA used opinion polls to settle on Mbugua. The Starehe MP, however, claims the opinion ratings were skewed in favour of Mbugua.

“The people of Starehe were denied their democratic right to go to the ballot again for the nominations and choose their leader. The party decided to carry out opinion polls to decide whom to award the nomination certificate, and it has been done,” Jaguar said on his official Twitter page on Thursday evening.

The lawmaker shared images of what he said were Infotrak poll results that placed him as the most popular aspirant, with a popularity rating of over 30 per cent. Mbugua, as per the polls shared by Jaguar, came second with a popularity rating of eight per cent.

The Standard reached Infotrak director Angela Ambitho, who said Jaguar had not commissioned any opinion poll with the firm.

“A client had asked us to conduct opinion polls in all the Nairobi sub-counties, and that client was not Jaguar. Maybe the client shared the details with the MP. However, give me time to confirm whether what Jaguar shared on his Twitter page was indeed the outcome of the Infotrak polls in Starehe,” she said.

The Standard reached UDA National Elections Board (NEB) chairperson Antony Mwaura, UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina and UDA’s Director of Communications Wanjohi Githae for comment, but none picked our calls.

The Standard also reached Jaguar for comment. He alleged UDA had made a predetermined decision to settle on Simon Mbugua.

“Initially, the party was to hold nominations in Starehe, but the exercise was frustrated as there were some places where ballot boxes arrived late; in some parts, the ballot papers had been marked even before voting,” Jaguar said, stating that the voting exercise was therefore cancelled.

“UDA is not my personal property. Even if I wanted to fight them through the legal avenues, and they’ve already settled on Simon Mbugua, I’ll only be wasting my time. I am now consulting my supporters on what next for me. Most of them are advising me to run on independent ticket. It’s an option that I could pursue,” he said.

“UDA claimed they had hired three opinion poll companies to help the party pick the most popular candidate in Starehe. However, in the opinion polls, the party included some people who were not even seeking UDA ticket; some were members of Jubilee Party. That shows how much the exercise was skewed,” added the legislator.

“UDA denying me an opportunity has surprised most of my supporters, because in Nairobi, I was among the vocal politicians who popularised and defended the party with all their might."

We also reached Simon Mbugua for comment, but he did not return our calls.

On Twitter, Jaguar claimed that he’d been shortchanged in the race for Starehe UDA ticket, suggesting the party had a predetermined decision on who gets the UDA certificate in Starehe.

“Could this be an outcome of certificates that started making rounds before nominations? Is democracy at stake here? I will be holding discussions with the people of Starehe and decide on the way forward. The voice of the people matters,” he said.

Jaguar officially declared his support for Deputy President William Ruto, who is the leader of UDA Party, in January 2022.