UDA dilemma as it seeks to enter ODM stronghold

UDA supporters and PDP leader Omingo Magara address the press at Karmel Park in Kisii County earlier this month. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Leaders allied to the United Democratic Party Alliance (UDA) could be facing teething challenges in Gusii region even as the party boss tries to penetrate an area that has in the last three general elections been a stronghold of ODM party leader Raila Odinga.

Party representatives and prospective aspirants from the region have been battling for leadership positions and hierarchy formations as youths seek to dethrone seasoned politicians from the party.

In the last month, Deputy President William Ruto has met Gusii leaders thrice.

On August 16, Ruto met Kisii grassroots leaders in his Karen residence a week after he had met with leaders, professionals, and stakeholders of the six Nyanza Counties in Gilgil, Nakuru County.

“Leaders must step up and commit to working together. They must offer authentic leadership and come forward with well-grounded thoughts that will rightly serve the interests of the people. Efforts to place the economy central to our agenda will further reunite and rebuild our country,” Ruto said after the Karen meeting.

At the centre of the wrangles is the formation of a party coordinating teams in Kisii and Nyamira counties.

In Nyamira, there are two camps pitting Kinaro Ndubi, Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose and gubernatorial hopeful and former MP Walter Nyambati.

In Kisii, the leaders seem to be battling in seniority and desire to represent the party at the National level.

DP William Ruto. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The county coordination position is currently being held by Japheth Nyakundi. A section of the party supporters had proposed former Kisii Municipal Mayor Samuel Omwando to ascend to the position.

The jostling for the party position and allegiance among some youth to a section of aspiring and elected leaders is also threatening to tear apart the party’s grassroot leadership.

The multiple leaders who are also aspiring to vie for same elective seats is also causing jitters within the party circles even as leaders insist that there will be free nominations in the party.

People’s Democratic Party leader Omingo Magara who recently joined UDA insists that there are no wrangles in the party.

Magara, a former South Mugirango MP and governor hopeful says UDA is a popular movement and all that is happening are issues related to formative challenges.

“We should not give value to those insulting us. My agenda number is to have Ruto win the presidency. We will not allow sideshows,” he said.