How key seats portend implosion in Raila, Ruto parties

UDA National chairperson Johnstone Muthama dismissed reports of plans by Kenya Kwanza alliance to zone the country. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Clarifications by top UDA officials has lifted the lid on a simmering implosion in Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s political camps.

The two front runners in the presidential contest are toying with the idea of consensus in picking candidates in some strategic seats, which could trigger major fallouts in their camps.

The plan to forge coalition parties by either camp implies convincing more aspirants to drop their bids amid competing interests by partner parties.

Yesterday, UDA National chairperson Johnstone Muthama dismissed reports of plans by Kenya Kwanza alliance to zone the country and allow certain parties exclusive rights to field candidates in some areas.

He made the clarification days after UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina made a similar explanation to calm backers of Kenya Kwanza alliance.

Mr Muthama said UDA had not entered any formal agreement with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC.

The Standard has established that plans to zone the country has caused jitters in the two camps, as some aspirants feel it is a scheme to edge them out in the contest.

“The reports of zoning and having some positions to certain political parties are not true. That is not the stand of UDA. When we were invited for ANC’s National Delegates Congress, we spoke about working together and articulating the unity of Kenya,” said Muthama.

“As we speak, you are assured by UDA chair that there is no coalition agreement that has been arrived at between the three patties. We are friends who continue talking, but when time for agreeing on coalition comes, that issue will be dealt with at that time,” he said.

The dilemma for Ruto, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula is that should, say UDA, produce a candidate for the Nairobi governor seat, ANC would be disadvantaged.

Ruto’s party has Bishop Margaret Wanjiru as candidate for the governor seat. ANC has Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. The three are further said to have agreed that UDA would not field candidates for governor in Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.

Another political nightmare will be in Kakamega governor race, where former Senator Bonny Khalwale (UDA) will lock horns with Senator Cleophas Malala of ANC.

DP William Ruto with ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi during a political rally at Nakuru, January 2022. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

In Raila’s Azimio la Umoja, two rival factions have emerged, with each team having its complete lineup for the top seats.

The two camps are battling for the Azimio la Umoja joint ticket and Raila’s attention. One camp has Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru (Nairobi governor), ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna (senator) and Esther Passaris (to retain Woman Rep).

The other camp is made up of businessman and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia (governor), Nominated MP Maina Kamanda for Senate and Nominated MP Beatrice Kwamboka Woman Rep.

The Wanyonyi-Waweru-Sifuna axis are campaigning on integrity and competency card.

Last weekend they accompanied Raila for a series of rallies in Nairobi, where he nearly endorsed Wanyonyi for governor by referring to him as the incoming governor of Nairobi. “I am here with a big team. Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru... Mama Beatrice Elachi and gavana mtarajiwa wa Nairobi Tim Wanyonyi,” Raila said.

“We want team Nairobi to be made of people of integrity and whose hands are not tainted. That is the team we are in,” said Sifuna during the rally.

In ongoing negotiations, Jubilee is pushing for a Kikuyu governor since they are backing Raila.