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Ruto headache as allies battle for party ticket

By Jacob Ng'etich | Nov 1st 2021 | 4 min read

Deputy President William Ruto addresses wananchi at Illasit, Kajiado County on October 31, 2021. [DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto faces a growing dilemma as allies go for each other in the quest to win several elective seats.

Already, a political storm pitting incumbents and aspirants eyeing same seats in the 2022 General Election is brewing in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

Although the party has promised free, fair and credible nominations next year, there is fear that Ruto’s closest allies will be favoured. 

On Saturday, Ruto was in Kajiado where he was hosted by the Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko who recently defected to United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and has declared interest in the Kajiado County governor’s seat.

Also in attendance was Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito, an ally of the Deputy President who has hit the road seeking to unseat Governor Joseph Ole Lenku.

Ruto will have a dilemma on who among the two should fly the UDA flag in the governor race.

The defection of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party to UDA on Tuesday will also put her on collision course with Woman Representative Purity Ngirici, who is seeking to unseat her and has already hit the campaign trail.

Ngirici is believed to be in the DP’s inner circle, having been a vocal and fearless supporter of the so called Tangatanga wing of Jubilee.

The Standard has sampled some of the perceived battle grounds in UDA nominations that might make or break the party that the Deputy President intends to use to vie for the presidency in the August 9, 2022 contest.

The chaotic scenes witnessed during nominations are becoming a real possibility in UDA as it welcomes more players on board.

It will be an uphill task for aspirants seeking to unseat some MPs, seen to make political sacrifices for the sake of the DP.

Garissa Town MP Adan Duale,  Elegyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kindiki Kithure lost their House leadership positions following the Jubilee purge due to their association with the DP.

Others who have stayed by Ruto’s side include Murang’a Senator Irungu Kangata who lost his position as Majority Whip, Nakuru Woman Rep Susan Kihika, Kikuyu Town MP Kimani Ichungwa, Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Kandara MP Alice Wahome.

These are perceived to have a head-start and are causing other interested aspirants cold shivers.   

But not all are quaking in their boots. Immediately after Waiguru’s defection to UDA, Ngirici said she was ready to battle it out with her.

“Waiguru is my easiest competitor to beat. I welcome her to the party and she should be ready to accept defeat after the nomination,” she said.

The battle in Kirinyaga will be replicated across counties that have strong UDA presence.

In Narok, the shift to UDA by Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Patrick ole Ntutu last week, poses a challenge for Ruto in the county’s governor race.

Narok Woman Representative Soipan Tuya who is among founders of UDA had declared interest to succeed Governor Samuel Tunai who is serving his second and final term.

Ms Soipan has accompanied Ruto during campaign tours to the county and the entry of Ntutu in the Hustler mansion will complicate the political matrix as she was perceived as the preferred candidate to fly the UDA flag in the race.

In Kericho County, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and Senator Aaron Cheruiyot will battle it out for the UDA ticket.

The Bomet governor race has attracted former county boss Isaac Ruto who is seeking to unseat Dr Hillary Barchok.

There has been push to have Ruto run on UDA ticket instead of his Chama Cha Mashinani party, a move that will see him face off in nominations with Dr Barchok and Ministry of Petroleum and Mining CAS, John Mosonik. 

UDA secretary general Veronica Maina has assured members of free and fair nominations.

“We will seek to serve as a good example to the rest of the parties by ensuring credible, free and fair primaries across the country,” said Ms Maina.

Gachagua said there is fear among aspirants that some sitting MPs have appointed their loyalists to be constituency and Ward coordinators, to use them to secure contacts of the public and create grassroots networks.

“I would like to assure that there will be free and fair nominations in the party and there is no need for any aspirant to worry. The leaders will be decided by the electorate across the country,” he said.

In Kilifi, Ruto averted a possible fallout in UDA after he convinced Kilifi North MP Owen Baya to step down for Ms Jumwa in the governor race.

In Kwale, Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani withdrew from the governor race leaving deputy governor Fatuma Achani and Eng Chai Lung’anzi to battle it out for the UDA ticket. 

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