UDA wave in Rift sweeps away big names

A wheelbarrow at United Democratic Alliance (UDA) headquarters in Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

There are indications that candidates vying on Deputy President William Ruto's party will dominate the Rift Valley region.

From the South to the North Rift, result dashboards in constituency tallying centres in Nakuru, Bomet, Kericho, Narok, Samburu, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties indicated United Democratic Alliance (UDA) had won most parliamentary seats.

Going by the preliminary results, a number of candidates who chose to contest as independents after losing in the party primaries were sent packing.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared Benard Kitur of Nandi Hills constituency the winner after trouncing area MP Alfred Keter.

The MP was vying as an independent candidate after losing in the nominations.

By yesterday afternoon, Hillary Koskei, the Kipkelion West MP, was poised to retain the seat after provisional results showed he had polled 25,883 votes.

His closest competitor, former Energy assistant minister Magerer Langat, an Independent, had 14,765.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech of UDA led with 43,789 votes against independent candidate Charles Kiplanga’s 7,455.

Joseph Cherorot was leading with 36,121 votes in the Kipkelion East race, while the incumbent Joseph Limo, and Independent, had recorded 11,272.

In Laikipia West, provisional results indicated that former MP Wachira Karani (UDA) was leading with 5,242 votes against Wanjiku Mwendia of Jubilee Party, who had managed 1,348 votes, followed by Independent Kamau Kamatu with 1,054.

In Naivasha, Jane Kihara was set to retain her seat. She led nine other candidates with 20,836 votes by 2pm, while former MP John Kihagi had 12,009 (Independent), Ndegwa Nguthiru  8,838 (Jubilee) and ODM’s Antony Rebo 4,104 votes.

Gilgil MP Martha Wangari (UDA) was also on her way to victory against former MP Mathenge Nderitu and Stephen Gatimu.

Wangari had garnered 33,407, Mathenge 18,170 (Jubilee) and Gatimu, an Independent, 5,305 votes by 2pm.

In Mogotio constituency, IEBC provisional results placed Reuben Kiborek of UDA in the lead with 5,093, followed by Daniel Tuitoek, Independent, with 4,050 votes.

UDA wave in Nyandarua County also swept aside the National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya and the Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni.

By the time Mr Kioni was conceding defeat to George Gachagua, he was trailing with 2,673. Gachagua had 8,674 votes.

At his party offices, Mr Kimunya made his announcement after his main challenger Wanjiku Muhia had opened a gap of almost 6,000 votes between them. Mr Muhia was leading with 10,341 votes.

"The people made their decision, which was different from our expectations. In a democracy, the will of the people prevails, and therefore, I and #TeamKimunya, will respect their choices. We extend our congratulations to the winner," he posted on Facebook.

But in Nakuru and Samburu counties, Jubilee and Kanu were leading.

Samuel Arama (Nakuru West) was leading with 8,213 votes, ahead of UDA’s Kamau Githengi who had managed 7,594 votes.

In Samburu West, incumbent Naisula Lesuuda was leading with 15,841 votes followed by an independent candidate Raphael Lenayiara, who had 3,516.

Most of the Independents who had lost in the UDA party nominations had promised to give their rivals a run for their money, claiming they were kicked out through irregular primaries in April.

But the UDA presidential candidate and his allies had been making forays in the region especially in the last campaign days, urging residents to go for six-piece voting.

The DP deployed his running mate Rigathi Gachagua before touring the region.

Dr Ruto made two visits to Nandi within a span of one week and also toured Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot in what may have watered down the gains of independent candidates.

“I'm here to seek votes for UDA. In 2013 and 2017, we all teamed up and formed the Jubilee government and have enjoyed services including road infrastructure, electricity connectivity, and technical training institutes. If we were able to achieve this while I'm a deputy president, how far will we go if elected president with our good manifesto?” Ruto said at the last rally in Eldoret.

Some of the Independents in Nandi County were MPs Keter, Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Vincent Tuwei (Mosop) and Woman Rep Tecla Tum (Emgwen), while the neighbouring Uasin Gishu had Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Swarrup Mishra (Kesses).

Mr Keter, Mr Tiren and Mr Serem were eyeing their third term, while Mr Tuwei, Ms Tum and Dr Mishra were seeking a second term.

Mr Serem yesterday conceded defeat, saying he respects the verdict of the residents. He was trailing at 14,788 against Ms Marianne Kitany’s 32,471.

In Nandi Hills, Mr Keter was triling with 18,037 votes against Mr Kitur's 23,503.

In Emgwen and Mosop, Josses Lelmengit and Abraham Kirwa had garnered 34,587 and 27, 270 respectively.

In Uasin Gishu, Prof Phyllis Bartoo (Moiben), Julius Rutto (Kesses) of UDA were leading. County Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat is also making an entry in Soy on UDA party after the outgoing MP Caleb Kositany went for the governorship.

Mr Rutto had recorded 29,470 votes ahead of Dr Mishra, who had 19,087.

UDA’s gubernatorial candidate for Uasin Gishu Jonathan Bii had garnered 212,697 against independent candidate Zedekiah Bundotich, who had 126,027.

Reports by Kennedy Gachuhi, Julius Chepkwony, Titus Too, Antony Gitonga, Nikko Tanui, Gilbert Kimutai, Yvonne Chepkwony, Edward Kosut and James Munyeki