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How Koinange kin was thrown out of the party in Kiambaa poll

By Fidelis Kabunyi | May 29th 2021
Late Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange. [Courtesy]

What was initially praised as a perfect example of family democracy has ended up locking out prominent Koinange family members from the July 15 Kiambaa by-election.

Reeling from the humiliation it suffered in Juja after settling on Susan Njeri, the widow of Francis Waititu, it now appears Jubilee is determined not to repeat the mistake in Kiambaa.

Jubilee Party, which is a front-runner in the Kiambaa mini poll, and its archrival United Democratic Alliance (UDA), declined to endorse any of the late Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange’s three relatives who had expressed interest in the seat.

Going by the events that have unfolded since the death of the MP on March 31, any attempts to bury the hatchet and decide who will fly the family flag in the mini polls appears remote.

Failed to appear

In April, the Koinange family announced that it had settled on Lenah Koinange to run in the Kiambaa by-election.

That was even before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced the date of the by-election.

Lenah is former Cabinet minister Mbiyu Koinange's daughter.

She failed to appear for the interviews for the Jubilee party nominations conducted last Saturday, despite the family endorsing her to vie for the seat.

A week later, Paul Koinange's widow, June, declared interest in succeeding her husband as the MP.

Paul is the son of Charles Karuga Koinange, a former provincial commissioner and scion of senior pre-Independence chief Koinange wa Mbiyu.

Declare her interest

June, who unsuccessfully ran for Kiambu Woman Representative in the 2013 and 2017 General Election, said that after mourning her husband it was time for her to declare her interest.

“There have been many discussions in Kiambaa that have brought together voters as well as thought and opinion leaders.

"The people have agreed that they need a strong personality to complete projects started and initiated by the late Hon Paul Koinange," the widow said in a statement.

Damaris Wambui, a niece to the late Paul Koinange threw her hat into the ring on a Jubilee ticket.

For a moment Wambui, a liaison officer at the Kiambu County government, defected from Jubilee to UDA after Jubilee nominated Karanja Kariri Njama as its flag bearer. In less than 24 hours, she rescinded her decision and returned to Jubilee.

“I have run my campaigns through the Jubilee party for close to two months hoping to be nominated by the people of Kiambaa as the Jubilee flag bearer,” Wambui said.

"Unfortunately, the position was not given to me. As you all know, it was out of this disappointment, anguish and bad feelings that I found myself making the announcement that I made of having moved from the Jubilee party."

Wambui also said that she has not decamped from Jubilee and would support the party’s candidate.

Eventually, UDA awarded John Njuguna and Kamau Thumbi the nomination certificates for Kiambaa and Muguga by-elections respectively.

After being locked out by the two major political parties in the contest, it now remains to be seen how the late MP’s relatives forge ahead in the area's politics.


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