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Jubilee, UDA share spoils in Nakuru County by-elections

KENYA
By Kennedy Gachuhi | March 5th 2021

Jubilee Party and the newly formed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) shared spoils in the Thursday by-election in Nakuru County.

After weeks of abrasive campaigns, the sheer show of might and violence during the voting day, UDA candidate for London Ward Antony Nzuki was declared the winner around midnight.

Jubilee Party’s Virginia Wamaitha was declared the winner of Hell’s Gate Ward representative seat.

Nzuki trounced Francis Njoroge of Jubilee after he garnered 1,707 votes against Njoroge’s 1,385.

Wamaitha’s win in Naivasha’s Hell’s Gate race will give Jubilee some hope after she registered 3,863 votes against her closest rival  UDA’s Jonathan Warothe who got 2,766.

The just-concluded by-election would probably go down history has one that set the tone for the 2022 General Election as national politics took centre stage mini polls.

The loss for Jubilee to the little known political party that enjoys the backing of Deputy President William Ruto should worry the ruling party because it is an indication that it does not have full control of a region that voted for President Uhuru Kenyatta almost to a man - twice in 2017.

Uhuru-Ruto fallout

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot congratulates the winner in the just-concluded London Ward by-election UDA’s Antony Nzuki. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama who was the Jubilee point man and lead campaigner was left scratching his head after losing despite the resources deployed for the small ward seat.

The political fallout between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy was evident before and during the by-election as elected leaders deployed in the county for the campaigns exchanged a bitter word and attacked each other’s personalities.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and a team of pro- Ruto lawmakers will feel buoyed by the London Ward win while Governor Lee Kinyanjui who spearheaded the Hell’s Gate campaign for the Jubilee candidate will be confident that he managed to deliver at least with a bigger margin.

Kinyanjui kept off the London Ward campaigns after his preferred candidate Barnard Maina also known as Gattuso lost in the Jubilee primaries.

Maina who joined the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) came third in the by-election after garnering 891 votes.

The mini- polls are likely to be the dress rehearsal of a bigger political war in Nakuru, come 2022.

Senator Kihika has declared her interest in the gubernatorial seat while Kinyanjui is seeking his second and final term.

With UDA making inroads in the Rift Valley, Jubilee must rethink its strategy as it is becoming obvious that the ground is shifting in some key constituencies such as Nakuru and others around Mt. Kenya.

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