Ruto allies in the Rift move to stop independents from vying

A section of DP Ruto allies led by Senators Kipvhumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika during the Media briefing. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have now stepped up their campaigns to counter the growing disquiet that has seen a high number of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nomination losers contesting as independent candidates.

The leaders are seeking to persuade the electorate to support UDA nominees for election in the August 9 General Election to enhance the strength of the party at the Senate, national and county assemblies.  

The political leaders drawn from Nandi, Nakuru and Elgeyo Marakwet counties at the weekend embarked on campaigns against independent candidates who fell out from UDA citing irregularities in last month’s highly-contested nominations.

Led by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Governor Stephen Sang’ (Nandi) and MP Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), they urged voters to rally behind UDA candidates for all the six elective posts. Mr Murkomen said UDA needs more MPs and senators to effectively push for the bottom-up economic policies and government agenda if DP Ruto wins the presidential election.

Their bid comes amid protests by a growing number of independent candidates, including MCAs and parliamentary aspirants, who claim they were rigged out during primaries.

Among the big names who have declared their interest in seeking re-election as independent candidates are vocal Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, whose nomination was nullified by the UDA elections tribunal.

Others include Nandi Woman Rep. Dr Tecla Tum, MPs Cornelly Serem (Aldai) and Vincent Tuwei (Mosop), who have all been cleared by the political parties registrar and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie as independent candidates. 

“We appeal to the electorates to consider electing UDA aspirants and this will help in the appointment of house leadership in the next parliament as a ruling party. The strength of the party is the number of MPs it has,” said Mr Murkomen.

Mr Murkomen was speaking during the thanksgiving prayers for Mosop parliamentary UDA nominee, Abraham Kirwa, in Kaiboi. 

The senator argued that the party, under Kenya Kwanza, wants MPs from other affiliate parties to spearhead the economic revolution through formulation and approval of policies.

“This should not be taken as being undemocratic, but it is a call for every party according to the political parties act to have the majority of the MPs to remarkably influence issues in the house. And we are appealing for the people to vote along the party lines,” he argued.

He urged those vying as independent candidates to shelve their bid and join hands with those who won the party tickets. 

Governor Sang’ argued that there would be no stiff competition as all the party nominees would focus on the national presidential campaigns under Kenya Kwanza brigade in the bid to deliver votes that would make DP Ruto win the election.