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Moment of truth for Mt Kenya's UDA affiliates

By Ndung’u Gachane | May 14th 2022 | 4 min read
Politicians allied to Kenya Kwanza Alliance Moses Kuria, Mwangi Kuinjuri, Jimmy Wanjigi and William Kabogo during UDA National Delegates Conference at the Kasarani. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Parties in Mt Kenya region affiliated to Deputy President William Ruto feel left out in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) power deal with ANC and Ford-Kenya. 

But the allies of Ruto say the outfits should not eye bigger stakes because they have no binding coalition agreements with UDA.

The smaller parties are unhappy that ANC and Ford Kenya had secured a 30 per cent of government should Kenya Kwanza win.

Yesterday, UDA Secretary for Legal Affairs Edward Muriu dismissed claims that Mt Kenya region had been shortchanged, saying the deal between parties from the region had nothing to do with power-sharing.

 “We don’t have a coalition agreement with Kabogo (William) and all the other parties. What we have is a cooperation agreement which is more or less a post-election pact. We only have a coalition agreement with ANC and Ford Kenya,” said Muriu.

According to him, the other parties will know what they will get in Ruto’s government based on what they get in elective positions. “Seats are not important but what the government will deliver for Mt Kenya region and that is why our priorities are anchored on the economic blue print which agitates for minimum guaranteed returns on our agricultural produce,” said Muriu.

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo touched a raw nerve with his remarks that the Deputy President had shortchanged Mt Kenya region in his pact with ANC and Ford Kenya party leaders, sparking jitters among UDA supporters.

Kabogo claimed the deal appears to favour ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi who has been promised a Prime Cabinet Secretary position and will also take up 30 per cent of Kenya Kwanza’s government.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary envisaged in the ANC, Ford K and UDA deal will have direct supervision of the Cabinet.

Senator Moses Wetang'ula has been promised a Speaker’s position while Mt Kenya region will get the Deputy President’s post which Kabogo claims is a position without portfolio.

On Thursday night, Ruto met with some of his lieutenants to address the concerns. 

Muranga Senator Irungu Kangata said: “We met in Karen and agreed to unveil the running mate plus what the region will get. Let’s hold our horses.” 

Ruto also held another meeting yesterday after zeroing in on Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and Tharaka Nithi Senator as the likely running mate.

“Kabogo could do us harm since his remarks come at a time when our opponents are gradually being accepted in the region. Our candidate and what the region will get will act as a counter strategy,” a leader who did not wish to be named said.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura said other than the running mate position, they had agreed on the region’s fair share of government which he said would be made public by Ruto himself.
He said regional leaders have domiciled the priorities in the regional charter which will soon be signed by Ruto and his running mate in public.
“The economic charter has a focus on guaranteed minimum returns on all our cash crops. To us, this is pivotal in our quest to ensure that the common Mama Mboga is at the central of government,” said Mwaura.
Gachagua said the region’s interests are ably represented by leaders from Mt Kenya region who are members of UDA and called on Kabogo and any other leaders who are doubting to check with them.
“The region’s interests are ably represented by leaders within UDA. He should check with us on what position we shall get. An announcement will be made at the right time but we have the best deal for the region,” said Gachagua.

In a past interview, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said: "Whereas positions are important, the welfare of the people of Kenya is more important, the preoccupation of Hustler nation is about the State of our economy and how to resuscitate all the sectors."

He added: "The current regime has overborrowed beyond sustainable limits and stolen whatever is left. We are crafting scenarios on how agriculture will grow and how industries will bounce back and the stalled projects completed."

But despite the public remarks that Ruto and his camp is not interested in power and positions in bid to appear concerned about the high cost of living, there has been serious a power bargain behind the curtains.

After Ruto joined hands with ANC, there was disquiet on what his offer would be. And with UDA's turnaround that it did not sign a coalition agreement with small parties, there will be disaffection.

But where will be the small parties be heading to? Pundits believe it is the small parties who needed Ruto and not vice versa.

"Chama Cha Kazi's Moses Kuria was apprehensive that before any deal, certain slots must have been kept aside but when reality dawned on him, he hastily signed the deal with Ruto to give himself and his party a political lifeline and so they have no option whether or not Ruto honours their deal," Mwangi Muthara, a political analyst said.

Muthara said by Ruto camping in Mt Kenya region early enough and converting some leaders, he inherited the political pillars of the elected leaders and used them to penetrate to the grassroots, making him more popular than the local leaders.

"He used this trick to his advantage and that is why he has decided who to vie where. Local leaders now need him more than he needs them and that is why he may give the region a raw deal without any serious repercussion," Muthara said.

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