Factional wars continue to deepen in UDA ahead of polls

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Factional wars continue to deepen in UDA ahead of polls
Factional wars continue to deepen in UDA ahead of polls

Africa-Press – Kenya. Factional wars have intensified in the United Democratic Alliance party ahead of all-important constituency elections slated for Friday.

Registered party members in five counties will go to the polls on May 31 to pick their officials at the constituency level.

Voters in Nairobi, Narok, West Pokot, Homa Bay and Busia will have an opportunity to elect their party leaders after concluding ward elections last week.

The constituency polls will be closely watched in the five counties as Members of Parliament will face off with their rivals.

Before then, squabbles have heightened in UDA with top leaders clashing over the polls.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, last Saturday lifted the lid on the raging wars in the ruling party.

The DP, who was recently handed a political lifeline after UDA approved a proposal to create only one office of deputy party leader, alleged meddling ahead of the elections.

The country’s second in command claimed that a section of politicians from the Rift Valley region are trying to influence UDA grassroots elections in his Mt Kenya turf.

He claimed that the ultimate agenda of the meddling by Rift Valley MPs is to sway Mt Kenya region and undermine him.

“Some few politicians who are around the president want to meddle with Mt Kenya politics to fight me. We in Mt Kenya have never interfered with Rift Valley politics and we deserve respect,” Gachagua said on Saturday in Uasin Gishu.

Gachagua criticized a section of leaders from Rift Valley whom he questioned their source of money saying they have been hopping from one area to another using helicopters to dish monies.

Gachagua did not mention any name and asked MPs to stick to their constituencies and stop political tourism.

“Where are these resources coming from, for politicking, when Kenyans are suffering? Choppers are being hired left, right and centre. Millions of shillings are being dished and Kenyans are suffering,” Gachagua said during a fundraiser in support of a women empowerment programme in Kesses, Uasin Gishu on Saturday.

“I urge the MPs to stay in their Constituency and serve their people. The habit of political tourism must stop. This is what is giving us trouble.”

The DP’s remarks sparked furious reactions from some Rift Valley politicians who alleged that Gachagua was unhappy with their frequent countrywide tours.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi maintained that he will not stop crisscrossing the country to support vulnerable groups and churches in development matters.

“Yesterday (Saturday), I saw a team of leaders in Kesses saying someone is causing a rift here and there. If you say Sudi should not leave his constituency and at the time you are talking you are in another constituency with about 30 MPs, is that not a contradiction)?” Sudi said without mentioning names.

“All those who were in Kesses used choppers to make themselves popular when we were in opposition until they clinched power. If you do not want to crisscross the country then stay home. Look for someone else to intimidate, I am past that stage.”

Some politicians have claimed that Gachagua is jittery after some leaders started propping up Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro as President William Ruto’s possible running mate in 2027.

Nyoro has been traversing the country and holding fundraisers, raising speculations he could be eyeing a bigger office and is keen to have loyalists at key party offices.

Further lifting the lid on the raging war in UDA, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru weighed in, in an apparent dig at Gachagua.

“While we respect the office of the Deputy President, and any other office of leadership, a progressive democracy does not allow us as occupiers of public leadership to personalise them. We hold these offices in trust, not as owners. Let us recognise the right of all, especially our women and our youth, to inspire to (running for) high office,” the Council of Governors’ chair said.

The friction in UDA has created factions with key leaders plotting to sway the elections and have their loyalties at the helm of the party’s leadership especially at the constituency and counties.

Emurua Dikir MP Johanna Ngeno, a perceived ally of Gachagua, said the DP was instrumental in rallying support for Ruto ahead of 2022 polls saying they will stand with him.

“The Kenya Kwanza government is united and strong. We have decided we have only one President and one Deputy President. We can’t work so hard for this government and then we start having issues. Many of our people suffered when we were fighting for this Government but the Deputy President led the people to fully support the President. We will stand with the DP all through,” he said.

Stakes are high ahead of the constituency elections because politicians keen on being elected for County positions must first win positions in the constituencies.

The upcoming UDA constituency elections are also significant because those who win constituency elections will form part of the National Delegates Congress (NDC)that will pick national officials.

The polls are also important for politicians seeking to contest for governor positions as winning constituency-level leadership will boost their chances of securing UDA tickets in 2027.

At the coast region, East African Legislative Assembly member Hassan Omar and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali are set to square it out for the county leadership positions.

With both Ali and Omar eyeing gubernatorial positions on a UDA ticket in 2027, they are keen to install their allies at the constituency levels to boost their chances.

Omar lost the Mombasa governor’s seat to Abdulswamad Nassir of ODM, garnering 98,105 votes against the winner’s 119,083 votes.

In Western Kenya, closely watched is the Kakamega county UDA polls where Senator Boni Khalwale is set to battle it out against party secretary general Cleophas Malala.

In Nairobi, Embakasi North MP James Gakuya, who is eyeing the Nairobi Chairmanship, has to first win at the Constituency level if he hopes to face Governor Johnson Sakaja.

Gakuya is said to be enjoying the backing of Gachagua.

Besides Nairobi, Narok is another county where stakes are high with Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo planning to face off with Governor Patrick Ntutu for the county chairmanship.

However, Tongoyo, who is the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Security Committee, must first win at his constituency before he can qualify to face Ntutu.

In the same county, MPs Ken Aramat (Narok East) and Johanna Ng’eno (Emurr Dikkir) are battling for the county secretary-general position.

For them to qualify to contest the county-level position, they must first win elections in their constituencies.

In West Pokot, Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto will face Jackson Rotino and Mzelondo Plimo for the UDA county secretary-general position if the three succeed in Constituency polls.

Governor Simon Kachapin will face Senator Julius Murgor for the county UDA chairmanship seat.

In Lower Eastern of Ukambani, UDA organizing Secretary Vincent Musyoka alias Kawaya is seeking his way in the polls.

He will fight it against former Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka who lost his parliamentary seat in 2022.

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