DP Ruto setback after ally defects to PEP in Taita-Taveta

Lawyer Stephen Mwakesi [Courtesy]

One of Deputy President William Ruto’s close ally in Taita Taveta County, lawyer Stephen Mwakesi has ditched the United Democratic Alliance and joined the People's Empowerment Party (PEP). Mr Mwakesi will use the party to vie for the governor seat.

Governor Granton Samboja is facing a crowded field of 14 aspirants out to wrestle the seat from him in the August polls. Ruto’s other allies in the region include former governor John Mruttu and Women Rep Lydia Haika both from the Taveta minority tribe.

Yesterday, Mr Mwakesi did not explain the reasons why he decided to abandon UDA. However sources said he jumped ship because the UDA leadership were keen to endorse Mr Mruttu for governor.

 “I humbly wish to announce to you all that I will be running for governor on a PEP ticket. The PEP is a national party with presence across 30 counties. Presently the party has a sitting elected MP and two MCAs drawn from two counties.

I am privileged of being acknowledged as the interim national party leader and the candidate for governor of Taita-Taveta county,” stated Mr Mwakesi.