Uhuru Kenyatta used his influence to literally set up a tough battle between former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper party and UDA, a party associated with current Deputy President William Ruto.
The head of state held a virtual meeting with ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani party leader Musalia Mudavadi, KANU leader Gideon Moi, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu as well as Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetangula on March 16.
Kivumbi.co.ke understands among other things, the president asked the party leaders to find a uniting way forward in the Machakos by-election unlike in Matungu and Kabuchai where violent scenes were witnessed.
“In light of the above, the meeting, the president urged all their political affiliates and supporters, especially in Machakos, to find a peaceful, amicable and uniting way forward during the upcoming byelections,” said State House spokesperson Kanze Dena through a statement seen by Kivumbi.co.ke.
Moments after the meeting, Maendeleo Chap Chap candidate, John Katuku, withdrew from the race in which he was considered a strong candidate against the Wiper party’s candidate,Agnes Kavindu.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, the party leader, disclosed his party had heeded Uhuru’s advice and also wanted to ensure United Democratic Party’s (UDA) candidate is completely locked out of the contest.
“…In this regard, so as to ensure that the National Unity Agenda succeeds and that detractors such as UDA, do not get an opportunity to roll back the achievements so far, we have decided to withdrew our candidate,” read a statement from Maendeleo Chapa Chap party.
The decision ensures Kalonzo Musyoka’s party candidate shall face-off with UDA’s candidate amidst rumours the Wiper leader is part of Uhuru’s preferred alliance for 2022 General Election.
UDA has been heavily linked to Deputy President William Ruto who has evidently fallen out with his boss Uhuru Kenyatta and majority of his party, Jubilee, top hierarchy.
The party picked businessman Urbanus Ngengele to fly its flag in the by-election slated for Thursday, March 18.
Since establishment three months ago, UDA has only won one elected seat- London Ward in Nakuru county.
The party emerged third in Matungu by-election where Amani party’s flag bearer emerged victorious with ODM’s candidate coming second.
Wiper’s candidate has been strongly supported by most major parties including Raila ODM as well as KANU. She is considered the frontrunner.
Unlike in the Matungu by-election where ODM squared out with Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress, a former partner in NASA coalition, the two parties have thrown weight behind the Wiper party’s candidate.
While Maendeleo Chap Chap has not declared which candidate it supports in the by-election, it goes without saying the Alfred Mutua-led party supports Wiper’s Agnes Kavindu.
Interestingly, Maendeleo Chap Chap was among the parties that accused Kavindu of not being fit to hold the Machakos senatorial seat because she is a standard 6 dropout.
There is currently no law requiring senate candidates to have a specific level of education however, this might change in the 2022 General Election where senate candidates are required to have post secondary education.
This thus means Wiper’s candidate could win the forthcoming by-election but will be ineligible to defend her seat in next year’s General Election.