Inside Politics

‘I could not believe it when Waiguru ditched Jubilee to join UDA’ – Ruto

Thursday, March 7th, 2024 15:31 | By
'I could not believe it when Waiguru ditched Jubilee to join UDA' - Ruto
President William Ruto speaking during the launch of the strategy of the G7 caucus at Safari Park in Nairobi on Thursday, March 7, 2024. PHOTO/William Samoei Ruto/Facebook

President William Ruto says he was taken aback when Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru ditched the Jubilee party to support his presidential bid under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ahead of the hotly contested 2022 polls.

Waiguru formally joined UDA in October 2021 after weeks of sending signals that she would abandon the former ruling Jubilee party following the declaration of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) - a pet project of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta - as unconstitutional by the courts.

Reflecting on the intrigues that shaped the August 2022 presidential election on Thursday, March 7, President Ruto said he couldn't believe it when Waiguru threw her weight behind his presidential bid.

The UDA party leader said he was convinced that Waiguru would remain in Jubilee and ostensibly campaign for the election of the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition candidate Raila Odinga, who had been endorsed by Uhuru.

Ruto revealed that Waiguru's difficult decision to join UDA also changed his perspective on women leaders, especially coming at a time when he had been deserted by male politicians during the height of the Jubilee divisions that led to his falling out with Uhuru.

"It was time to make very difficult decisions whether to go this way or to remain that way. Among the people who made decisions that confirmed to me that women are brave, is the decision Waiguru made to join our team. I could not believe it because everyone believed she would be on the other side," Ruto said.

The President also lauded Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire for choosing UDA over Jubilee in the 2022 succession politics.

"Same thing with my dear sister Mbarire. It was obvious that she would be on the other side but when she made the decision to say that this is where I am standing and this is where the people are, she stood out as a great leader," he added.

He was speaking during the launch of the strategy of the G7, a caucus that brings together the seven women Governors in Kenya.

At the same time, President Ruto reiterated his commitment to implementing the two-thirds gender rule in his party.

He promised to agree with his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to preserve the UDA party presidential running mate position for women.

Ruto tasked Governor Mbarire, who also serves as UDA chairperson, with developing new rules that would ensure women are considered for running mate positions whenever a man is contesting for the presidency or governor's seat, and vice versa.

"Cecily Mbarire is the chair of UDA not by default, it is deliberate and intentional, and one of the assignments she has is that we must as a party lead from the front and we must make it in the rules that when Riggy G and myself tukifika hapo mbele na tumepangana tumekubaliana vile kutaenda we must also agree that going forward if a man is a candidate for president in our party, the woman must be the running mate and if a woman is vying for president then a man must be a running mate," Ruto said.

Other female governors elected in the 2022 General Election are Glady Wanga (Homa Bay), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), Kawira Mwangaza (Meru) and Fatuma Achani (Kwale).

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