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Juja by-election: Campaigns intensify as aspirants change parties

By Mathew Ndungu
Monday, March 15th, 2021
Naftaly Rugara, a Juja MP hopeful
In summary

As Juja by-election campaigns intensify, candidates have started shifting camps over fears of being rigged at the party primaries.

The latest to decamp is George Koimburi who was seeking Jubilee Party ticket and was seemingly the strongest hopeful candidate.

Koimburi says he left the ruling party for Peoples Empowerment Party affiliated to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria after he was subjected to threats and intimidation by a section of leaders and alleged cartels in the party.

He said that a group of notable Kiambu leaders have been sending goons to him and has sometimes been threatened that a direct ticket would be given to a candidate whose party officials will decide.

Speaking on phone hours after ditching Jubilee, Koimburi who emerged number two in 2017 elections vowed to fight on in a different party to restore sanity in Juja which he claimed lags behind on matters development.

Koimburi's withdrawal from Jubilee comes days after Ken Gachuma and Eunice Mugo left United Democratic Alliance after the party that is closely linked to Deputy President William Ruto silently announced it will not be fielding a candidate.

The move leaves Susan Njeri, wife to the late MP Francis Munyua Waititu alias Wakapee as the most key Jubilee Party ticket contender alongside Naftaly Rugara Muiga, an electrical and electronic lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) who is also eying the ruling party's ticket.

While Njeri is banking on the support of local leaders, Rugara expressed confidence that Juja residents would support his bid owing to his sustained community development projects and his yearn to transform social-economic state of the vast sub county.

Recently, Rugara called on the ruling party to conduct free and fair primaries and avoid imposing a candidate on electorates.