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Battle lines drawn as UDA fields candidates in by-elections

By Jacob Ngetich and Moses Nyamori | January 8th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

DP William Ruto (right), ANC secretary Chris Wamalwa (left) and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula during the requiem service for Mama Hannah Mudavadi, mother to Musalia Mudavadi at Friends Church, Ngong Road, Nairobi, yesterday. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto is today expected to unveil candidates for two by-elections under the new United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, setting the stage for a titanic political battle with other players.

Former Kenya Revenue Authority board member Evans Kakai is expected to be picked to fly the new party’s ticket for the Kabuchai Constituency seat while Alex Lanya will do likewise for the Matungu parliamentary seat, according to sources.

The decision by the Ruto-allied party to field candidates implies that the DP will campaigning against, among others, Jubilee candidates.

The by-elections were occasioned by the deaths of MPs Justus Murunga (Matungu) and James Lusweti (Kabuchai).

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This will be the first time UDA is fielding candidates after it changed its name from the Party for Reforms and Development (PDR), whose new symbol is a wheelbarrow.

Anne Nderitu, the Registrar of Political Parties, in a special gazette notice a week ago, had indicated that PDR was changing its name to UDA.

Johnson Muthama, the UDA chairman, yesterday told The Standard that they had settled on the two candidates for Matungu and Kabuchai constituencies after a series of consultative meetings.

“We have had a meeting with seven aspirants for the Matungu Constituency and they agreed to unanimously support Lanya for the seat while another five from Kabuchai also agreed to support Kakai,” Muthama said.

He said all the aspirants agreed to campaign for the two aspirants once they are cleared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

IEBC has set March 4 as the date for by-elections in the two constituencies and London and Hell’s Gate wards in Nakuru County.

Already, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress party, which will be defending the seat, has picked Peter Nabulindo while former Matungu MP David Were will fly the ODM flag.

Ford Kenya, which will not field a candidate in Matungu, has picked Joseph Majimbo for the Kabuchai seat, won by the late Lusweti on the party’s ticket.

Yesterday, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said Ruto will today unveil Kakai and Lanya for the Kabuchai and Matungu seats respectively.

“Our candidates for Kabuchai and Matungu will be running on UDA ticket,” said Barasa.

“In Machakos, we have agreed to conduct an opinion poll to identify our candidate.”

He added they will not pick a candidate for Nairobi gubernatorial race until the case by former Governor Mike Sonko is determined.

On Wednesday, Ruto held a meeting with 15 aspirants seeking UDA ticket in the Machakos senatorial by-election. The meeting, convened by Muthama, was also attended by MPs Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Vincent Musyoka.

“Our breakfast meeting primarily focused on the upcoming by-election. We have agreed as the ‘hustler nation’ that a scientific opinion poll shall be carried out and aspirants have collectively agreed to respect and support the will of the people,” he said.

Former Machakos Deputy Governor Benard Kiala, Prof Peter Lewa, Dr John Musingi, Titus Ndundu, Magdalene Ndawa, Alex Mbelenzi and Winfred Mutua are seeking the UDA ticket. Ruto allies are not bothered by Jubilee disciplinary action threats, saying members had in the past campaigned for rival party candidates. Senator Isaac Mwaura said there was nothing wrong with UDA competing against Jubilee.

 


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