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Ruto’s call that gave UDA man victory in poll

By James Munyeki | May 20th 2021
Deputy President William Ruto. [File Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s last-minute phone call address to voters in Rurii Ward in Nyandarua played a role in the emphatic victory of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate in the mini-poll.

Also, an intense door-to-door campaign by local leaders allied to the party played a great part in ensuring victory for Muraya Githaiga.

Two days to the by-election, Ruto’s allies led by Nyandarua Woman Representative Faith Gitau rallied the voters behind the ‘hustler’s movement’ with a promise that the political future of the county was in the party whose symbol is the wheelbarrow.

Gitau and her a team of MPs Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Michael Muchira (Ol Joro Orok) and Kiharu’s Ndindi Nyoro organised for the deputy president to address the electorate via a phone link that was amplified through a public address system at various stopovers in the ward.

In his address, Ruto appealed to voters to elect Muraya, whom he described as a young person with a vision for the people of Rurii.

Rurii ward by-election UDA candidate Muraya Githaiga (left) celebrates with Nyandarua Women Representative Faith Gitau (center) and UDA secretary-general Veronica Maina after he was announced the winner at IEBC tallying center at Rurii PCEA church in Nyandarua County on May 18, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]


Seek shelter


According to lawyer Martin Wachungo, a political commentator in the Rift Valley and Mt Kenya regions, that act alone showed the voters of Rurii that he cared and that UDA was their new hope.

“If President Uhuru Kenyatta would have bothered to even send a message to the people to ask them to vote for (Peter) Thinji, things would have been different,” observed Wachungo.

The team also went to the ground with a message to the people that they were being isolated in Jubilee Party, and that they had no option but seek shelter in UDA.

As the Jubilee team used State might and launched a number of development projects in the ward through Governor Francis Kimemia and Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki as they campaigned for Thinji, the UDA team reminded the locals that the ruling party was intolerant and out of touch.

“Our message to the people was clear from the onset that Jubilee had deviated from its development agenda and was now busy with the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) of changing the constitution at the expense of the promises of 2013,” said Gitau, who led the campaigns.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared Muraya the winner after he garnered 4,303 votes against Thinji’s 3,143. Susan Wangeci of The New Democrats came a distant third with 17 votes.

The victory was a big blow not only to Governor Kimemia who spearheaded the Jubilee campaigns, but also the National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, who had vowed during one of the campaign meetings at Rurii Catholic Church that he would resign if the UDA candidate won.

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