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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Jap poll loss flu spreads to Mt Kenya

Following devastating defeat of the Jubilee Alliance Party by ODM during the Kajiado Central by-election, analysts now say that the rebellion witnessed in Rift Valley is quickly spreading like bush fire in Uhuru Kenyatta’s political turf of Mount Kenya region.
The nomination of former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu to fly the Jap flag in the forthcoming Kabete by-election is likely to give Jap a second straight defeat as the constituency is known to vote against party euphoria.
Ordinarily, it was believed that Waititu’s endorsement by Jap would almost guarantee him victory, but Waititu’s announcement that he would challenge William Kabogo for the Kiambu governorship in 2017 has unleashed other political forces that have changed the dynamics on the ground.
Already, Jap top leadership is in panic with William Ruto reaching out to Waititu’s opponents to step down for him with promises of state jobs.
The man giving Jap and Waititu sleepless nights is John Wamagata who is running on Safina party ticket and another candidate is Kiriro wa Ngugi of DP. Pressure has been on Wamagata to withdraw from the race but he has vowed remain in the race until the final lap.
The man behind Wamagata’s candidacy is Safina leader Paul Muite who is also a former MP. History is likely to repeat itself during the by-election. During the first multi party elections in 1992 Muite of Ford-Kenya defeated Ford-Asili’s candidate but the party’s presidential candidate Ken Matiba received over 90pc presidential vote with Ford-Kenya’s candidate Jaramogi Oginga Odinga receiving a paltry 3,000 votes.
Apart from Muite, Kabogo and a number of MCAs from Kiambu counties allied to him have vowed to throw their weight behind Wamagata.
Cord has however vowed to lobby their supporters to vote for the Safina candidate. According to IEBC voter registration records, the constituency has close to 5,000 combined votes from Nyanza and Western. During last elections, Raila garnered 2,547 votes against Uhuru’s 54,233 votes. This shows that there is a good presence of non-Kikuyu voters in Kabete which is likely to provide the swing vote as was the case of Kajiado Central.
Those opposed to Waititu say they cannot allow an outsider to come and take over leadership in Kabete and eventually in Kiambu. They are said to be working on a strategy that will surprise even the national leadership.
In Nyeri county, the TNA officials who had once indicated that they had taken over Jap’s leadership have now finally abandoned the move. Governor Nderitu Gachagua has abandoned Grand National Party for Jap that was received with mixed reactions.
A week after Governor Gachagua declared he was ready to dissolve his GNU and join Jap, Nyeri branch TNA party officials told him his party is not a Jubilee affiliate.
Nyeri TNA co-ordinator Phillip Githua said Jap’s logo constitutes only TNA and United Republican Party. Githua, who was accompanied by another co-ordinator Daniel Gachara, asked Gachagua to first resign from his party if he is to be accepted in Jap.
Investigations now reveal that Gachagua and a number of politicians from the county now not interested in the Jap positions and have retreated to their original parties. The political fireworks expected in the county have finally died as leaders retreat back to their original parties.
During the last elections, Gachagua garnered 137,469 votes against TNA’s candidate Patrick Wahome who got 127,776 votes. Others were John Githinji of ODM (2,849), Mwangi Njururi of Narc (9,234) and Thuo Mathenge of Saba Saba Asili who got 48,892 votes.
With the Jap fire quickly dying, it is important to note that GNU will still continue to pull surprises and should TNA disband to join Jap, then GNU will be an alternative party for the people of Nyeri county in 2017.
In Kirinyaga county, section of residents have criticised the move by Jubilee top leaders to merge URP and TNA political parties into Jap without consultation and approval from members. They blame David Murathe who is Uhuru aide for misleading TNA supporters.
In Muranga county, the reactions are the same with local TNA leaders now retreating back to TNA. Analysts say the power struggle between TNA officials and elected leaders over the control of Jap has crippled the taking off of Jap activities in almost all counties in Central region.
The formation of Jap which also caught a number of MPs unawares is being fought secretly by elected leaders who are by law barred from holding any party position in Jap. The Jubilee sitting MPs have vowed not to allow 2013 election losers to take charge of the newly formed Jap party.
TNA elected leaders from the Mount Kenya region have stood their ground that those who lost in the last general election cannot be given priority over current sitting MPs, saying that if they want to join the new party they should come in as ordinary members.
Analysts say that elected TNA leaders are not in any way ready to allow their competitors, some of whom supported different parties in 2013, to come and take charge of Jap under their watch. It is for this reason that the MPs have literally sabotaged Jap activities in their respective constituencies.
At one time, there were plans by the Jap interim national officials to dish out party leadership positions to politicians who lost in the last general election something that elected leaders have vowed to fight to the bitter end.
To show how Jap is slowly being rejected in Central region is that the wrangling that was witnessed TNA county branches as rival factions fought to take control of Jap is no more. Those who held TNA positions have continued to serve and abandoned their move to join Jap.
Immediately after Jap’s formation was announced, TNA party leaders in Nyeri, Murang’a, Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties were engaged in squabbles over who are the bona fide party officials. The scramble for positions has intensified after the Uhuru personally presented Patrick Tutui the party’s ticket to contest the Kajiado Central parliamentary seat. But after Tutui lost to ODM’s Memusi, TNA leaders literally abandoned pushing for party positions in Jap.
Just as Jap is losing momentum in the Mount Kenya region, URP leaders in Rift Valley are also apprehensive. The leaders claim Jap might weaken Ruto’s influence in the Jubilee coalition. Majority of leaders from URP are opposed to the party.