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Kiambaa mini poll litmus test for Uhuru, Ruto

POLITICS
By Grace Ng’ang’a | May 26th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto during last year's Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi.[Elvis Ogina,Standard]

The stage is set for yet another litmus test for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s dominance in the president’s backyard.

The July 15 Kiambaa constituency by-election provides another battleground for the two ahead of next year’s polls.

This is after United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate John Njuguna Wanjiku and Jubilee’s Karanja Kariri Njama officially presented their nomination papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Kiambaa.

The seat fell vacant following the death of Paul Koinange in March.

It will be a chance for the president to reassert his authority in the central region after the recent upset in the just-concluded by-elections.

It is also another chance for UDA, a party affiliated to the DP, to prove its supremacy after wins in the Juja constituency and Rurii ward by-elections.

Jubilee’s Njama handed his nomination papers yesterday, hoping to win the seat.

Ready for race

While handing in his nomination papers, Wanjiku was accompanied by Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Jayne Kihara (Naivasha).

Wanjiku submitted his documents to IEBC commissioners on Monday.

Njama said he was ready for the race, adding he believes in the people of Kiambaa and the Jubilee party that nominated him.

“What I am bringing to the people is change. This is the first time Kiambaa is having a youthful leader and I am ready for it. I have faith in my people,” he said.

He said he had no pressure to perform in the by-election.

“There is no correlation between what happened in Juja and what will happen in Kiambaa. I am ready. The hardest part is to ensure I secure the seat. It is now time to come together and make Kiambaa great again,” he said.

Wanjiku said he would modernise and change Kiambaa.

“I am pleading with you to come out in large numbers so that I can actualise the manifesto I have for Kimabaa. I will ensure all the roads are repaired and that bursaries only go to those who deserve them,” he said.

Gachagua said he was pleased that the “Hustler Nation” settled on one candidate following the withdrawal of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) candidate Raymond Kuria from the race.

Positive feedback

“It makes our work easier and creates harmony,” he said.

Rigathi said the just-concluded by-elections give positive feedback to the newly formed party.

He dismissed claims that a section allied to the DP was undermining President Kenyatta, arguing that they were not in competition with the Head of State, but were thinking of the future.

Kuria, who withdrew his candidature in solidarity with the Hustler Nation, met DP Ruto at his residence in Karen, Nairobi, yesterday.

At the meeting, Kuria and his team pledged to support the UDA candidate.

“This is our campaign. We are the Hustler Nation and we will support my brother Wanjiku,” he said.

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