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Anne Waiguru, Wangui Ngirici clash before DP Ruto

POLITICS
By Ndung’u Gachane and Jane Mugambi | November 29th 2021

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (left), DP William Ruto (centre), and Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici at the New Anglican Church of Kenya, Kirinyaga. [DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto was yesterday forced to intervene in a political rivalry between two of his allies in Mt Kenya.

Supporters of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and the County Women Representative Wangui Ngirici engaged in a political showdown moments before the DP arrived in the county.

The situation saw the DP call on all United Democratic Alliance (UDA) supporters and those eyeing various elective seats countrywide to embrace peace ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“We are a peaceful party. We do not want fights. The people who fight are known. We are peaceful people, and we have plans,” he told Kirinyaga residents.

While reading the riot act to both Ms Waiguru and Ms Ngirici, but without mentioning names, Ruto said leaders should provide solutions to unemployment. “The youth are looking for a future and want leaders to provide solutions to their joblessness. We must say no to war,” he said.

The DP said he would not have a hand in the nomination, and that the process would be dictated by wananchi when the time comes.

“In the UDA party, there will be free and fair nominations. There is no need to be afraid. I invite all aspirants to this party of peace,” said Ruto.

Reflector jackets burnt

The clashes started at 8.30am when Ngirici’s supporters burnt Waiguru’s effigy and reflector jackets outside a church where Ruto was expected to attend service.

Security agents lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the clashing groups.

Supporters of the two friends turned foes heckled their rival politician in a sibling rivalry that had rocked the UDA party.

Armed with placards and banners bearing the images of Waiguru and Ngirici, the teams camped outside All Saints ACK church, where they engaged the police officers in running battles.

The team further engaged in fistfights when Ngirici supporters burnt Waiguru’s reflector jackets and posters.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (left), DP William Ruto (centre), and Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici. [DPPS, Standard]

Each team had been strategically positioned outside the church and in Kianyaga, Kutus, Kerugoya, Kagumo, Baricho and Sagana areas.

All the while, clerics continued with the service. Aware of the impending shouts at the pulpit, Bishop Joseph Kibucwa chose to tactically introduce all leaders, including Ruto, urging congregants to join them at Kianyaga shopping centre.

Waiguru concurred with Ruto that there was need for leaders to embrace peace, adding that voters would decide who to elect. “I have faith in our party leaders that we will have a free and fair nomination,” Waiguru said.

She said she believed in party ideologies. “Let us stop insults and violence. People will decide on their preferred candidate during the nominations. UDA is for us all, and we should be peaceful.”

But even with Ruto’s remarks, Waiguru supporters heckled Ngirici, as she tried to address the residents.

With whistles and vuvuzelas, the woman representative could not be heard.

Leaders accompanying Ruto included Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Alice Wahome (Kandara), and Wilson Sossion (Nominated MP).

They said they would continue visiting Kirinyaga to drum up support for Ruto’s presidential bid.

“The party belongs to all of us, and every leader is welcome to join the party,” Mr Gachagua said.

His response seemed to be directed to the Woman Rep’s husband, Andrew Ngirici, who had warned some leaders against setting foot in Kirinyaga.

“We will not allow anyone to interfere with our local politics, and nobody will impose a leader on us. We will stop them from attacking Interior PS Karanja Kibicho,” Mr Ngirici said on Friday at Wanguru stadium at an event attended by the PS.

He had also vowed to stop politics in churches and claimed that his wife was there for Ruto and that he had held strategy meetings at his Kerugoya home.

DP William Ruto addressing supporters in Gichugu, Kirinyaga. [DPPS, Standard]

The political rivalry between the two leaders who will be vying for the governorship position in Kirinyaga was fueled after Waiguru joined UDA.

Ngirici announced that she was contemplating the next move, but on Sunday, she told locals she was still in UDA and sought their support.

She avoided stating whether she believed UDA would conduct free and fair nominations.

Dalliance with Kibicho

UDA insiders said they were uncomfortable with Ngirici’s recent dalliance with Kibicho, who has been a marked man in the Ruto’s camp.

In a recent Embu tour, which Ngirici shunned, UDA leaders chided Kibicho and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i over the Kamiti jailbreak and called for their sacking. “The security of our nation is more important than any other assignment,” Ruto said.

But Ngirici, who is now holding joint meetings with Kibicho, defended him and wondered why Waiguru called for the sacking of their son instead of calling and lobbying for more employment opportunities for Kirinyaga residents.

This, according to some leaders within the UDA party, had caused discomfort among the leaders who found it hard to trust that Ngirici still held the same ideologies as Ruto allies.

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