Will Nyoro ride Kiambu tide against Uhuru foes?
Governor James Nyoro might have an easy ride for the Jubilee ticket following a well-oiled campaign by President Uhuru Kenyatta to rejuvenate the party for the August 9 polls.
His competitors — ex-governors William Kabogo and Ferdinand Waititu, Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Thika MP Patrick Wainaina and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria — are coalescing around Kenya Kwanza camp of Deputy President William Ruto.
Kabogo is in his Tujibebe Party, an affiliate of United Democratic Alliance (UDA), while Waititu (who was impeached), Wamatangi and Wainaina are seeking the UDA flag. Kuria is on his Chama Cha Kazi party.
Space and attention
Being the only aspirant currently seeking the Jubilee ticket, Nyoro is enjoying space and attention from party heavyweights leading the ongoing campaigns in Mt Kenya region.
Analysts argue that by joining Ruto’s camp, Kabogo, Waititu, Wamatangi, Kuria and Wainaina have put themselves on a collision course with Uhuru, who is determined to ensure Jubilee — which recently mandated him to continue being its leader after retirement — wins most seats, particularly in central Kenya.
“Nyoro will have an advantage since he is the only Azimio candidate in Kiambu. Kenya Kwanza candidates will be on a warpath against the President, who will not want to be upstaged in his home county. Uhuru might use his financial and political might against these candidates. Note also that the President has deep networks in Kiambu county and he could call them to action,” political scientist Peter Ng’ethe says.
But Nyoro’s position as the county’s sole aspirant in the President’s corner could be short-lived. Reportedly, some State and party officials spearheading Jubilee’s revival are courting Wainana, a move which could complicate things for Nyoro.
But yesterday, the MP maintained he was still in UDA. He quipped: “Today (Thursday), at about 10:30am, everything is green and yellow and so even nature says it is UDA. That is where we are. We are having nominations between 9th and 16th April. Once we get the date, I am asking the people of Kiambu to come out in large numbers to nominate Wainaina wa Jungle for governor under UDA in the main polls.”
Uhuru is promising aspirants under Jubilee various desirables, among them funds for their campaigns and access to party privileges, as well as his political clout.
The President is expected to lead a massive campaign for the party’s candidates — leading a deliberately harsh onslaught on those opposed to Azimio la Umoja coalition.
Jubilee secretary general Jeremiah Kioni has trained his guns on Wamatangi. Besides sacking him as Senate Majority Whip and chairman of the lucrative Transport committee, Kioni accuses Wamatangi of electoral fraud saying he is registered in two political parties.
“After going to UDA, we told him to leave the party’s office (Whip). But he wrote tous an eight-page letter saying he is still a member of Jubilee. This political conmanship is what we don’t want. Wamatangi is said to have registered as a Jubilee member using his national identification card while in UDA he used his passport. That is fraud and can lead to him being disqualified from any political office in Kenya,” Kioni said.
Target the rebels
Vice-chairman David Murathe says that once the party is done with the ongoing revamp, its leadership led by Uhuru will target the rebels.
Nyoro, Jubilee’s sole candidate for Kiambu governor seat to date, says: “If you come to ask for votes in Kiambu, do it with decorum and respect to the local leaders. Whether you are from Kiambu or from without. We shall not discriminate against anybody; but don’t come here to insult the President”.
We will not allow that,” he says.