Ruto, Raila reap big from the seasons of defections

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

The political harvest season is here and Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga are not taking chances as realignments take shape ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The two are laying strategies to win support as they receive defectors from rival political camps.  The DP’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) continued on a winning streak for the last two weeks consecutively with a huge catch of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and six Members of Parliament.

Early this month Raila also received defectors from the counties of Narok, Tharaka-Nithi, Embu and Marsabit. “We are happy to welcome defectors and returning party members back home to ODM,” he said at the event.

UDA headquarters and Ruto’s official Karen residence in Nairobi, has been a hive of activity as aspirants visit to declare their support to the DP.  Speaking in Thiba Ward, on Wednesday, Ms Waiguru signaled her exit from the ruling Jubilee Party.

Mimi nitawauliza ndugu zangu na dada zangu, kwa sababu naskia mtanirudisha, mnataka nikuje na chama gani huku Kirinyaga? (I ask you my brothers and sisters, because I’m told you will reelect me, which party should I use),” posed Waiguru.

The crowd responded with emphatic UDA chants.

“Nikikuja na hio chama mnasema mtanirudisha 2022? Mimi ntasema sio mimi nlisema. Niliuliza wananchi na vile wananchi wanasema, hio ndio njia tutafuata. (If I vie on that party ticket, will you reelect me come 2022? I will say, my move, followed the will of my constituents),” she added.

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

A day later, three MPs Ali Amin Deddy (Laikipia East), Peris Tobiko (Kajiado East) and Wario Qalicha (Moyale) joined UDA after a meeting with Ruto in Karen.

“My people asked me to join UDA if I want to win. I am following the will of the people,” said Qalicha.

Deddy argued that the DP’s bottom-up economic model was key to transforming lives of the people. 

“People across the country are keen on the bottom-up economic model and, therefore, I have decided to join the winning team that has the interest of the common man,” he said. 

Recently Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina and his Githunguri counterpart Gabriel Kago who were in Kieleweke wing once allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta shifted to Ruto’s Tangatanga wing. The MPs said they were under pressure from their respective electorate to join UDA. Ruto also bagged Kabuchai MP Joseph Majimbo Kalasinga (Ford Kenya) who was elected in the March 4 by-election. Kalasinga joined the hustler bandwagon during the DP’s recent tour of Bungoma County.

“You supported me a lot and I must reciprocate that gesture. Our beloved DP Ruto you and Bungoma are one thing and we are ready to work with you in your quest to empower the hustlers of this country,” he said at Chwele Trading Centre during a stop over by Ruto to address residents.

Kalasinga who was elected following the death of former MP James Mukwe joined five Jubilee Party MPs from Bungoma who accompanied the DP on the Bungoma tour.

Another casualty of the defections is The Service party(TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri whose organising secretary Karungo wa Thangwa, Deputy Secretary General, Njogu Barua, Director of political affairs and campaigns John Methu decamped to UDA.

Service party(TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Methu, defected on Thursday days after Borua and wa Thangwa joined UDA. During a press conference in Ol Kalou town, the former TSP Director of political affairs who is eyeing the Nyandarua senatorial seat, said that he joined Ruto’s camp after consultations with residents.

“My decision has been informed by deep consultations with the people of Nyandarua whom I seek to serve as a senator in 2022,” he said.

And it was a big win for Raila after he received the endorsement of most second term Coast governors. Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa ), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Dhadho Godhana (Tana River) vowed to rally the region behind the ODM leader.

 - Additional reporting by James Munyeki