‘Jungle’ quietly quits UDA over unfulfilled promises
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has suffered a blow after Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina withdrew from the party.
Wainaina is believed to have quietly beaten a retreat in mid-December, barely two months after joining UDA in a highly publicised event attended by Deputy President William Ruto in Kiambaa constituency.
The first-term legislator popularly known as ‘Jungle’ has declared interest in the Kiambu governor’s seat held by James Nyoro.
Others in the contest include Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho, former Governor Ferdinand Waititu ‘Babayao’ and first county boss Wiliam Kabogo.
Wainaina, who was elected on an Independent ticket, caught many by surprise by decamping to the ‘Hustler’ side as he has previously declined to align himself with any of the emerging political camps.
The MP has since rebranded his campaign truck previously adorned with the yellow UDA colours.
Asked to comment on the latest development and confirm whether he has defected officially, the legislator only said: “We are independent.”
Jungle is yet to declare reasons for his departure from UDA but a source within his camp said he was uncomfortable with Ruto’s unmet financial promises to his constituents during his recent tour of the county.
“The MP was forced to dip into his pocket to pay millions the DP had pledged to women and youth groups as part of his empowerment programme in Thika and Gatundu North where he hosted the DP,” said the source who sought anonymity.
Jungle is said to be headed to the Party of National Unity headed by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi who has already reached out to him. The MP is said to have advised his people to “go slow on UDA.”
Unlike it was the case previously when Wainaina used to accompany the DP in public meetings since his defection, he is no longer seen at such functions.
Wainaina’s exit from UDA may make it easier for Waititu to clinch the party’s ticket since the MP was touted as a strong challenger in what may have turned out to be a bruising battle in the primaries.
However, this will also depend on whether the former governor is cleared to run given that he has a Sh530 million graft case pending in court. Waititu was later to be impeached after the Senate ratified a motion to kick him out by the county assembly.
The two are the only gubernatorial aspirants who had declared they would contest on an UDA ticket.
Waititu has since mounted a campaign across the county in which he proclaims himself as “the people’s governor.”
Earlier, Waititu had declared he was not scared of facing off with Wainaina in the party nominations.
“I am not afraid of anyone since it is the people of Kiambu who will vote for their candidate and not a clique of a few individuals,” he had said when reached for comment.
One time when accompanying Ruto on a tour of Kiambu, Waititu told residents that he was ready to come back and complete his unfinished business as governor.
He said: “Najua mko tayari kunirudisha kuwa gavana wenu kwa uchaguzi ujao juu sio watu wa Kiambu waliniondoa kwa kiti (I know you are ready to re-elect me as your governor since it was not the voters who removed me from office).”
Wainaina who is known for erecting boda boda sheds all over the county and distributing avocado and macadamia seedlings to farmers, has made inroads and is gaining popularity. He is expected to vie as an independent candidate.
“It will be foolhardy to write off Baba Yao. He has a way with the people and if he plays the victim card to the public, he is likely to win their sympathy and support,” said Samuel Kuria a resident of Juja who follows Kiambu politics.
Nyoro who has been in office for close to two years is yet to state which party he will use to defend his seat but is allied to Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja.
The governor was in the forefront in organising last Saturday’s Azimio rally in Thika in which the ODM leader launched his grassroots campaigns. Mwende Gatabaki, who has yet to declare her party of choice although she is believed to be seeking Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s Chama Cha Kazi nomination.
Wamatangi has not yet come out to align himself with any of the political camps while Kabogo will be running on his Tujibebe Wakenya Party.
Ndicho is also yet to name his political vehicle as he seeks to unseat Governor Nyoro, but he is reported to be warming up to UDA.