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Hot sibling rivalry after DP William Ruto Coast tour

POLITICS
By Patrick Beja | October 19th 2021
Deputy President, William Ruto addresses UDA party aspirants at Wild waters in Mombasa. He wants aspirants who cause chaos during campaign period to be disqualified October 18, 2021. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s six-day tour of the coastal region has stirred internal rivalry in his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in the region.

It has emerged that his Monday meeting in Mombasa was stormy with some aspirants claiming that the party appeared to have settled on certain people.

During the meeting, Ruto warned aspirants causing acrimony in the party that they would be barred from contesting on the party's ticket.

Ruto wound the coastal tour today in Taita Taveta and Kwale counties after touring Mombasa and Kilifi counties.

The DP dished millions of shillings to boda-boda, traders and women in about 15 constituencies and the six counties he visited.

In Ganze, he donated 1000 bales of maize flour to hunger-stricken residents and pledged to improve farming if he bags the presidency next year.

While critics argued that the tour unsettled a number of rivals, his allies see it as a huge success after he attracted crowds in roadshow meetings and got a chance to address hundreds of aspirants while putting his house in order.

In Kwale County, it was tricky for governor Salim Mvurya who was absent from Ruto’s public rallies at Kombani trading Centre and Ukunda Showground but met the DP privately later at night.

Mvurya is reportedly under political pressure after ODM leader Raila Odinga announced publicly that he had embraced him.

Deputy governor Ms Fatuma Achani hosted Dr Ruto in both rallies prompting the DP to endorse her for the Kwale gubernatorial seat on a UDA ticket at the Ukunda rally.

 This sparked off major sibling rivalry in the party after another governorship aspirant Lung’anzi Chai Mangale later protested the move.

“We had always expected free and fair nominations. The endorsement of Ms Achani to run on UDA ticket took us by surprise,” said Omar Mbuli, Lung’anzi’s campaign manager.

Ruto signalled that Ms Achani would become the undisputed UDA point person in Kwale county after another gubernatorial aspirant, Lunga Lunga MP Mr Khatib Mwashetani, quit the gubernatorial race.

In Mombasa County, Ruto appeared to have settled on former Mombasa senator Mr Hassan Omar to lead the party’s affairs amid grumbling from within the party as some aspirants showed discomfort with the vocal politician.

In Taita Taveta, former senator and Cabinet Minister Dan Mwazo and lawyer Stephen Mwakesi, who are eyeing the gubernatorial seat, see former governor John Mruttu as having the upper hand in UDA.

This emerged as Mruttu and Taita Taveta women representative Ms Lydia Haika hosted the deputy president last Thursday last week when he visited the region.

Yesterday, Pwani University lecturer Halim Shauri said Ruto should be accommodative or risk scuttling his team and lose a significant segment of his supporters following pressure by some aspirants to run the show in UDA.

“The deputy president should shed his dictatorial tendencies and put on a presidential demeanour. In other words, he should be more accommodative or else he will lose many supporters ahead of nomination time,” Prof Shauri warned.

He noted that the rushed endorsement of Ms Achani unsettled Mr Lung’anzi and his supporters in Kwale county and this could be reflected in other counties where aspirants were angling to control party activities.

But Hassan Mwakimako says the DP made it clear when he met aspirants at the Wild Waters Centre in Mombasa County on Monday that he had not endorsed anybody yet.

Prof Mwakimako says it was usual for aspirants to want to be endorsed by popular parties so as to avoid going for nominations but Dr Ruto had made it clear they will face their rivals.

“The DP made it clear that aspirants will have to compete at the nomination level. He had said there will be no free ticket and this should be the message for everyone in UDA,” Prof Mwakimako said.

Former Kisauni MP and assistant minister Anania Mwaboza said the DP tour was a success because he pulled big crowds and addressed a big field of aspirants.

“UDA has a big following at the Coast. Ruto addressed big crowds in every place he toured and many are seeking to vie on the party ticket,” he noted.

In the campaign trail were Malindi MP Ms Aisha Jumwa, Mr Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Mr Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Feisal Bader (Msambweni), Mr Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Ms Haika and her Tana River counterpart Ms Rehema Hassan.

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