Why Ruto Will Not Field Any Candidate In Garissa Senate By-Elections
UDA party will not field a candidate in the upcoming by-election in Garissa county but instead will back the son of the late senator Yusuf Haji who will fly the Jubilee ticket. Garissa Township MP Aden Duale on Tuesday told the Star that the United Democratic Alliance, a new party associated with Deputy President William Ruto will stay out of the poll “in honor and respect of the late senator. The ex-Majority Leader in the National Assembly who was kicked out by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the anti-Ruto purge last year said community leaders, elders and professionals have resolved to back Abdikadir Mohamed Yusuf Haji as an unopposed candidate to replace his father. The close ally of the DP said “while UDA is the party of choice in the county”, it was resolved that since the late senator was elected on Jubilee, his son should complete the journey in the same party. According to Duale, “As the DP ordered in Huruma ward, Uasin Gishu county, we agreed that due to the position as respect that we have for our former senator, we unanimously agreed that our candidate will be Abdul. He however, said that come next year’s general election, he will rally the pastoralist community to switch to UDA noting that the outfit that rebranded recently from the Party of Development and Reforms has roots in the region. For now, the party is not that critical factor compared to the interests of the community. We are optimistic that once the term of this government comes to an end, we will embark on a new journey where we know the aspirations and development agenda of our people will be taken care of,” he said. The Garissa’s by-election slated for May 18 comes following the demise of Senator Yusuf Haji on February 15 after a long illness. Haji who was serving his second term as a senator passed away aged 80 years at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.
He was first elected in 2013 on the defunct TNA and in 2017, he won his second term on the Jubilee party ticket. In the Juja by-election which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has schedule run concurrently with the Garissa one, the stakes are high. For the first time, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto will square it out in the parliamentary by-election billed as a popularity contest between the ruling party and UDA. It is understood that Uhuru’s camp has started talks to have a family member of the late MP – Francis Waititu, popularly known as Wakapee to fly the Jubilee ticket. Sources have it that the President’s wing of Jubilee is rooting for either one of the sons or the wife of the late legislator to be given the ticket in the poll that will be keenly watched. Wakapee, whose constituency neighbour’s Uhuru’s Gatundu South succumbed to brain cancer last month. Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said his party- the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) is in talks with UDA to agree to field a joint candidate.
Kuria, another confidant of Ruto in Mt Kenya region said Kenya has come of age and should stop the old age practice where a family member should inherit the seat. According to him, “Jubilee has settled on a family member of the late MP. For us, we are in discussion on a winning strategy. We have two other by-elections which must come to our side. The people of Juja should be allowed to exercise their democratic right in electing their leader who will deliver. As a country, we need to end this culture of public positions being inherited.” After the sweet victory against Jubilee in London ward, Nakuru county, last week, UDA invited aspirants seeking to participate in the Juja parliamentary by-election party primaries to submit their applications. The party also invited those seeking to participate in primaries to fly the party flags in the Bonchari constituency and Rurii Ward in Nyandarua, by-elections to submit their papers. Kieni MP Kanini Kega threatened that the ruling Jubilee will sever ties with UDA should it continue undermining the President.
Speaking to Media outlet, The Star, Kanini, a close ally of the President said Juja and Rurii are predominantly Jubilee zones and UDA should keep off the by-elections. According to him, “If UDA will field candidates in the two by-elections, then we will treat it as an enemy. Going forward we will not take it lying low when some elements from within are undermining the President, ” He said Jubilee will reach an agreement with handshake partners, not to filed candidates in areas where the respective party is dominant. “We have discovered that some people are taking advantage of some of these situations where a number of parties are competing. We will strike a deal with our partners so that in our strongholds, they will not field candidates whenever such vacancies occur and we will also not have candidates in their areas. In Machakos county, we in Jubilee will support the Wiper candidate and they will also reciprocate in backing our candidates,” he said.
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