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Is William Ruto's persecution in Jubilee a blessing in disguise?

By Grace Ng’ang’a | May 20th 2021
Deputy President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s persecution in ruling Jubilee party has come back to haunt the leadership after his candidates in just concluded by-elections emerged victorious.

Dr Ruto took to Twitter to celebrate the victory of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party in Rurii ward in Nyandarua County and the Peoples’ Empowerment Party (PEP) in Juja parliamentary by-election.

“We thank God for Hustler nation victory in Juja and Rurii and the awesome show in Bonchari… ” the DP tweeted.

This is second time PEP is winning a ward seat in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard.

The DP’s stature in the party has diminished after he was kicked out of the party headquarters and his allied de-whipped from House leadership and committees.

Finding himself between a rock and a hard place, the DP publicly admitted that he is the only man standing in the ruling party and did not rule out using UDA as his 2022 presidential vehicle.

Ruto’s early celebration of the by-election win, comes on the backdrop of the landmark ruling by a five-Judge bench that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill null and void. The DP was non committal on BBI and has been leading a different path to the 2022 General Election.

UDA had picked Teresa Bitutu for Bonchari parliamentary by-election and Francis Githaiga for Rurii Ward.

The party also backed PEP candidate George Koimburi in Juja who was fronted by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

UDA candidate Muraya Githaiga at the IEBC tallying centre at Rurii PCEA church in Nyandarua County on May 18, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Hired goons

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen congratulated the candidates saying the President should “be the first person to concede defeat in Juja. Using the police and hired goons to subvert the will of people is an abdication of duty and blatant violation of the Constitution especially Chapter 6 and Chapter 4.”

Ruto allies publicly popularise UDA which has the symbol of a wheelbarrow and they refer to themselves as the Hustler nation.

Speaking to The Standard Belgut MP Nelson Koech said Ruto had previously warned that he would look for a new home should things not change in Jubilee.

“Things have remained the same giving room for Ruto to look elsewhere,” he said.

UDA secretary general Veronica Maina also revealed that they will now focus on strengthening the party following the latest win, after the London Ward by-election.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua told the president that things will no longer be the same in Mt Kenya if he retains some advisers who are misleading him.

“The wins in Central by UDA and PEP demonstrate that people are fed up. The people will not be forced to elect a particular president or leader they do not want. This is not Congo, Rwanda and it’s not Uganda,” he said.

He added: “Whether they use the system, deep state, chiefs and their assistants, thugs, goons, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), we are determined and we have seen it all. The people of the mountain fought the colonialists with their bare hands and will not be intimidated.”

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said: “When I said BBI is unpopular, I meant the ground, not political elites. Hustler wins two seats in Mt Kenya-Juja and Rurii.”

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said last week has been a nightmare for someone. “Today he is on life support. Party lost in Rurii, Juja and Bonchari! Appears his imaginary grip of the Mountain is a mirage! Deep state and system is a scam!” said Ms Kihika.

Former MP Kabando wa Kabando lauded the DP and the UDA team for the win. Kudos ‘party leader’ Ruto, UDA Kenya on big victories of preferred candidates - MCA Rúrií, Nyandarua and MP Juja, Kiambu county,” said Mr Kabando.

“Strong show in Bonchari! A reflection of influence plus the unstoppable popularity of reject BBI movement,” he added.

There has been pressure to kick out Ruto as Jubilee Party deputy leader and even the National Management Committee (NMC) resolved to send him packing and only awaits endorsement of the National Executive Council chaired by the President.

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