Allegations of bungled primaries and favouritism in picking candidates in some areas have triggered a fierce storm that threatens to tear apart Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA.
Fury of the scorned
So bitter and disgruntled are the candidates that they are indirectly blaming the party boss for allegedly allowing the exercise to continue despite allegations of vote rigging
Some aspirants who lost in the Thursday primaries are threatening to ditch the outfit.
This could deal heavy blow to the DP as he prepares for State House battle with Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga.
In some regions, some aspirants are seeking partnerships with rival parties to send a protest message to Ruto while others are weighing options of running as independents.
So bitter and disgruntled are the candidates that they are indirectly blaming the party boss for allegedly allowing the exercise to continue despite allegations of vote rigging.
A number of those aggrieved by the outcome of the results are seasoned politicians and close allies of the DP.
Among the areas where storms have erupted are Bomet, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, Naivasha, Laikipia, Kericho Kimbu and Mombasa
Ruto, however, kept off the process and allowed the candidates to compete on their own, especially in his backyard — unlike other regions where he negotiated consensus.
And, while the party has put in place necessary mechanisms to handle disputes emerging from the primaries, most of the aggrieved candidates are not pursuing them.
Some cite high fees being charged those filing petitions, while others do not have faith in the process.
Among the areas where storms have erupted are Bomet, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, Naivasha, Laikipia, Kericho Kimbu and Mombasa.
In Bomet, Senator Christopher Langat and nominated MP Wilson Sossion have pledged to team up and support either of them to run as an independent candidate.
They claim the primary in which Nairobi-based lawyer Hillary Sigei was announced the winner of the Senate seat, was marred by massive irregularities.
Sigei was announced the party’s flagbearer with 77,500 votes as Langat scored 65,006. Sossion managed 45,371 votes.
Langat, particularly, accused Governor Hillary Barchok and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen of being behind what he called rigging.
This now marks the start of a struggle that they will live to regret
Wilson Sossion, former Knut boss
“Who knows Sigei? He just migrated to Bomet recently. I blame Barchok and Murkomen for all these mess. They engineered my ouster for speaking out on corrupt deals at the county in which they were part,” he complained.
Murkomen and Barchok could not be reached for comment.
Sossion said the exercise did not present a fair chance for the residents and there was another opportunity presided over by an independent body.
“This now marks the start of a struggle that they will live to regret,” the former Knut secretary general said.
In Kiambu, Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina, popularly known as WaJungle, rejected the outcome of the nominations for governor and pledged to run as an independent candidate.
His fierce competitor, Senator Kimani Wamatangi was declared flagbearer for the August 9 polls.
“I want to assure my supporters and the people of Kiambu in general that my name will be in the ballot,” Wainaina stated.
He said there were other glaring anomalies in the process. these included appointment of polling officials aligned to his opponents and his agents being barred from some polling centres
The situation is the same in Mombasa where several aspirants and party members have threatened to decamp party over what they called skewed methods of picking candidates.
The party conducted its first primaries on Thursday last week. There was some violence and rigging allegations across the country. Some primaries were suspended.
Overall, however, the violence did not reach levels other parties experienced in the past.
Addressing the media in a Mombasa hotel on Saturday, Mohammed Amir, a Senate hopeful, said that he had ditched the party and would instead run as an independent.
“I have officially quit UDA today and will vie as an independent candidate for the Mombasa Senate seat,” Amir said.
We have credible evidence that we have given the party, and we demand the primaries be repeated as soon as possible
Former envoy Julius Bitok
In the DP’s Uasin Gishu backyard, governor aspirant former envoy Julius Bitok disputed the results and petitioned the party’s elections board to order a repeat of the primary.
Politician Jonathan Bii was announced the winner with more than 71,000 votes while Bitok came second with about 51, 000 votes.
Bitok said he had evidence that the tallying of votes was tampered with, saying he won in five of the six constituencies but figures were altered.
“We have credible evidence, which we have given the party, and we demand the primaries be repeated as soon as possible,” Bitok said.
In Kericho, former CS and Ruto’s longtime friend Charles Keter did not concede defeat. Youthful university don Eric Mutai was declared winner of the UDA ticket.
Cate Waruguru, who was declared beaten by Amin Deddy in the race for Laikipia East MP, seat has promised to announce her next move.
“I want to thank my supporters for their continued support as I assure them that all is well. I will issue a comprehensive statement on my next course of action after the Easter holiday,” she posted.
In Nakuru, supporters of Naivasha MP Jane Kihara have pledged that she will be on the ballot in August although she lost the UDA primary.
They gave the party two days to resolve the anomalies recorded in a number of polling stations where ballot boxes arrived at the tallying centre without seals.
Naivasha East MCA Chege Kung’u said they have handed the evidence to the party.
“We are ready to take to the streets to protest the outcome of these elections that were marred by irregularities,” he said.
Reports indicate that several MP and MCA aspirants who are mostly the grassroots mobilisers, are aggrieved and have threatened to run as independents.