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Sibling rivalry rocks Kenya Kwanza as UDA, Maendeleo Chap Chap aspirants clash

Kibwezi West MP hopefuls James Mbaluka (UDA) and Mwengi Mutuse (Maendeleo Chap Chap). [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua's decision to abandon Azimio la Umoja -One Kenya for Deputy President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza Alliance has caused confusion among aspirants in UDA and Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCCP) in Ukambani.

The aspirants clashed in Kibwezi West, Makueni County on Tuesday. The sibling rivalry played out during a rally at Makindu Railways grounds when supporters of Kibwezi West aspirants Mwengi Mutuse (MCCP) and James Mbaluka (UDA) clashed forcing residents to scamper for safety.

Trouble started when a supporter allegedly from the MCCP side demanded to address the rally but anti-Mutuse chants rented the air, leading to an exchange of blows.

The rally was later called to order after police contained the situation.

Mbaluka accused Mutuse of planting goons to disrupt his meeting and allegedly thriving in politics of violence.

“If you elect leaders sponsoring violence know that after August 9 polls the same will continue being meted on you; they are now camouflaging but they will fully bring out their real self later,” said Mbaluka.

The UDA aspirant, also the Kenya Kwanza Alliance coordinator in Makueni, urged leaders joining the coalition to respect others.

He said founder members of Kenya Kwanza should have a bigger share of the coalition's cake.

“We had warned them that there is no future in Azimio. They have now joined us. As Kambas, we know children of “concubines” are not beneficiaries of any wealth, everything is made for the children of the first wife, but we will see what to share with them after August 9,” he said.

“Let them join the winning team led by William Ruto with respect. Their father (Mutua) has been assured of a government slot in Kenya Kwanza and so I will give him (Mutuse) a share when I win as Kibwezi West MP,” added Mbaluka.

However, Mutuse said he was not aware that his supporters disrupted the said rally. He promised to conduct peaceful campaigns and let the people decide the next Kibwezi West MP.

“I'm not aware of anything because I was away. I will not drag myself into discussing anybody and if there were any chaos then it was their people because the rally had been organised by them,” he said.

Internal democracy

A tough battle is also expected in Kaiti constituency where MCCP and UDA have fielded candidates.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Deputy President William Ruto during the signing of memorandum of understanding between Maendeleo Chap Chap and Kenya Kwanza at Karen, Nairobi. [Sarafina Kaiyongi, DPPS]

MCCP nominated Patrick Mbevi, who defected from the Wiper party while UDA is fronting Terry Mbaika.

Mbevi promised to avoid party politics and popularise his candidature for the people to exercise their democratic right at the ballot.

“It is the voters to decide at the ballot. My opponent is in UDA but both of us are in an umbrella called Kenya Kwanza and without zoning then let everybody convince the electorate,” he said.

The two will face off with incumbent MP Joshua Kimilu who is flying the Wiper flag. 

In Machakos County, aspirants vying for various elective seats on the MCCP ticket said they are not worried about the decision of the party leader, Mutua to join Kenya Kwanza.

Kangundo parliamentary hopeful Ancient Kituku, Woman Rep aspirant Rita Ndunge, and deputy governor Francis Maliti, who is eyeing the governor seat, said Kenya Kwanza offers democratic space for all aspirants and their supporters will make their choice at the ballot.

“There is no such thing as sibling rivalry in Kenya Kwanza. That is a creation of the media as we are barely three days old in the coalition. This is a coalition and each party will have the opportunity to field its candidates,” said Maliti.

The deputy governor explained that the decision by MCCP to pull out of Azimio will address the concerns of the 261 aspirants across the country at risk of being locked out of the race because of zoning.

Kituku said the majority of MCCP aspirants have already explained to their supporters the party leadership's decision to pull out of Azimio.

“The party leadership did the right thing, otherwise we the aspirants would have found ourselves in an impossible situation because the Ukambani region had secretly been zoned for Wiper. MCCP had to quit Azimio la Umoja One Kenya to secure their aspirants who would have been swept by the wayside,” he said.

Machakos Woman Rep aspirant Rita Ndunge said Dr Mutua’s move saved the MCCP aspirants from the Azimio coalition, which would have technically eliminated the smaller parties from the race.

“I am comfortable with this arrangement because we are assured of being on the ballot. I am not scared of facing my opponent in UDA because I have been selling myself as a brand and I am confident voters will elect me,” she said.

On Tuesday, Dr Mutua defended MCCP's decision to walk out of Azimio, saying the zoning of regions was dangerous and a serious affront to democracy.