Mother of all political battles unfold in Kiambaa by-election

Deputy president William Ruto's UDA

By The Weekly Vision

The mother of all political battles is shaping up in the upcoming Kiambaa by-election that President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to win at whatever cost! But even as the president chest thumps, bragging that he is still the top regional kingpin in central Kenya, the DP William Ruto-allied United Democratic Alliance says not so fast sir!

UDA has unveiled a win-win strategy to tame President Uhuru in his backyard during the July 15 by-election with many watchers saying another defeat to Ruto’s candidate in central Kenya would leave the head of state devastated! The seat fell vacant following the death of MP Paul Koinange a close relative of Uhuru in March. He was a Jubilee lawmaker.

The Kiambaa by-election is expected to rekindle the bitter Jubilee-UDA rivalry that kicked up a huge storm after Uhuru’s preferred candidate lost to a PEP candidate in the Juja poll

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will next week gazette the names of the candidates for the election. But UDA is leaving nothing to chance and believes the Jubilee flag bearer will be the candidate to beat. The race is already a showdown between the two parties after Moses Kuria’s Peoples Empowerment Party pulled out its candidate. The Kiambaa by-election is expected to rekindle the bitter Jubilee-UDA rivalry that kicked up a huge storm after Uhuru’s preferred candidate lost to a PEP candidate in the Juja poll. In Juja, Jubilee’s Susan Waititu lost to George Koimburi who ran on the PEP ticket. Koimburi had the backing of UDA.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto, the president has vowed to win at whatever cost

What is going to be one of the most hotly contested by-elections for MP and MCA is already unfolding with the president having told his minders that defeat is out of the question “we either win or they lose” he was quoted telling close aides as he flew to Kisumu for Madaraka day celebrations.

Others in the race are Willie Mbugua (Independent), David Mugo (Independent), Isaac Karomo (Federal Party of Kenya), Lucy Wanjiru (Party of National Unity), Evans Gichia (People’s Party of Kenya) and Richard Njoroge (The New Democrats)

In the eye of the storm are Jubilee’s Karanja Kariri and UDA’s John Nguguna who have been warming up after their respective parties handed them certificates. “We are moving into the campaigns knowing that we are facing a worthy opponent. However, we shall stop at nothing to ensure we deliver the seat for our party,” UDA secretary-general Veronica Maina said.

Deputy president William Ruto’s UDA

Others in the race are Willie Mbugua (Independent), David Mugo (Independent), Isaac Karomo (Federal Party of Kenya), Lucy Wanjiru (Party of National Unity), Evans Gichia (People’s Party of Kenya) and Richard Njoroge (The New Democrats). Maina said UDA believes it has presented to the people of Kiambaa the strongest candidate.

“We held free and fair nominations and we believe that ours is the strongest candidate in the Kiambaa contest,” she said. UDA has also fronted Joseph Githinji as its candidate for the Muguga ward by-election. This even as it emerged that the Kiambaa campaigns would be a major test for Ruto’s allies who have been marketing the hustler narrative in Kiambu.

Analysts say the race will be closely watched as it will also be a litmus test for the DP’s confidants in the county including Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Moses Kuria .The fresh flexing of muscles between former allies turned foes Uhuru-Ruto battle is widely seen as a rematch of the Juja race. Many central Kenya watchers say the largely emotive euphoric support the son of the founding father received in the 2013-2017 presidential polls has long since evaporated into cold impotent embers! The people who woke up at dawn to vote for Uhuru some with patients brought from hospital beds have long since changed.

Many say the President’s dwindling clout in a region that voted almost to a man in the 2013-2017 presidential elections now risks his legacy. In contrast, the deputy he has spent years fighting and sidelining continues with his political star shining in Mount Kenya.

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