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Scramble for friendly parties ahead of 2022 polls

By Boniface Gikandi | July 23rd 2021
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria commissioning the construction of a cancer treatment and research centre at Murang’a Level Five Hospital. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Amid the dwindling fortunes of the ruling Jubilee Party and the entry of Deputy President William Ruto’s allied United Democratic Alliance (UDA) into Mt Kenya, several politicians are weighing their options for 2022 elections.

Political realignments and strategy meetings are taking place at county halls with elected and aspiring leaders seeking a winning formula. 

With President Uhuru Kenyatta retiring and the squabbles in Jubilee after a string of losses in recent by-elections, several politicians are eyeing friendly political parties based on the influence of their party leaders.

Already, Usawa Kwa Wote Party affiliated with Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, is the new kid on the block after having received requests from aspirants among them former and present governors seeking to be on the ballot next year.

Another political party gaining traction in Mt Kenya is The Service Party (TSP) allied to former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. Kiunjuri has already said his party will support Ruto's presidential bid next year.

Yesterday, Murang’a governor said in the past two months he has hosted delegations from across Mt Kenya region, including Meru, Isiolo, Laikipia, Nairobi, Nyandarua and Embu.

“Usawa Kwa Wote party is ready to field candidates in all cadres and presently there are a number of several former and sitting governors who have shown interest in our ticket. Our party has a massive following in Mt Kenya, especially after we launched a membership drive last month,” said Iria.

The party targets more than five million new members by the end of this year, through its volunteers spread across the country.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Iria also said those seeking his endorsement to succeed him as Murangá governor next year, must first fight it out for Usawa Kwa Wote party ticket.

“Our party believes in empowering the ordinary tea, coffee or avocado farmer. By ensuring farmers get value for their toil in the farms, we believe we can transform the rural economy and fight poverty. Good sounding slogans without tangible efforts or policy decisions will not help locals,” said Iria.

He said the time has come for parties to profess specific ideologies that resonate with people’s aspirations.

“Political parties should not be just vehicles for capturing power and left to die after a presidential term ends. Our party will be there, seeking to better the lives of farmers even after current officials are off the political arena,” said Iria, whose term is ending in August next year. 

However, MP Peter Kimari exuded confidence that the Jubilee Party will overcome the hurdles, and be the party to beat in Mt Kenya region. He also said efforts to rebrand the party are on course.

“As the party focuses on the next election, a lot will be done including removing the stumbling elements, who have been causing trouble,” said Kimari, an ardent supporter of President Kenyatta.

Another political outfit, Chama Cha Kazi is in the process of registration and is also targeting Mt Kenya voters. 

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