REALIGNMENT

Kiambaa UDA win not a protest against Uhuru, says bishop

Mt Kenya region gears up for future party ahead of 2022

In Summary
  • Bishop Samuel Njiriri the Kiambaa voting pattern shows how Mt Kenya region is realigning itself ahead of 2022
  • UDA  got its first legislator after Njuguna Wanjiku won the by-election by securing 21,773 votes against Kariri Njama of Jubilee, who got 21,263 votes
UDA supporters at Karuri stadium after John Njuguna Wanjiku Kiambaa MP-elect on July 16, 2021
UDA supporters at Karuri stadium after John Njuguna Wanjiku Kiambaa MP-elect on July 16, 2021
Image: STANLEY NJENGA

President Uhuru Kenyatta is increasingly having less say in Central Kenya politics because he will not be on the ballot in 2022, a bishop has said.

Bishop Samuel Njiriri, the general secretary of Federation of Evangelicals and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya, told the Star that the Kiambaa voting pattern was not a protest vote, but Mt Kenya region realigning itself ahead of the 2022 General Election.

"The Kiambaa election was not about President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. The people have realised the President will not be on the ballot and Ruto has come out seriously, saying he wants to be the Fifth President of Kenya," Njiriri, who is also the presiding bishop of Stewards Revival Pentecostal Church of Kenya, said.

Njiriri said given DP Ruto has declared his interest in the presidency as others struggle to craft alliances, it gives him an upper hand with the people as he is consistent and has already laid the ground.

"Every day we see the Deputy President meeting Kenyans in preparation for his election come 2022 and that could be the reason why people are attracted to the UDA party, which is allied to him. Others are still realigning themselves and we will wait and see," Njiriri said.

UDA got its first legislator following Njuguna Wanjiku's win in Kiambaa. Wanjiku garnered 21,773 votes against Kariri Njama of Jubilee, who finished second with 21,263 votes.

Mt Kenya youth caucus chairman Linford Mutembei said Jubilee Party is not yet dead, and it will be restructured in preparation for 2022. 

"We agree that Jubilee needs to restructure but it is not yet dead since it has a huge following and membership. It is going back to the drawing board and starting afresh to recruit and popularise at the grassroots level," Mutembei said.

Mutembei added that the people should not drag the President's name into the loss in Kiambaa as he is busy fulfilling his development agenda to Kenya.

"The Kiambaa by-election was not about President Uhuru as he was not on the ballot and we all know that his term comes to an end next year. He is busy articulating his duties and making sure that the development agenda is fulfilled," Mutembei said.

Kiambaa MP-elect John Njuguna displays his certificate after he was declared the winner of the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election
Kiambaa MP-elect John Njuguna displays his certificate after he was declared the winner of the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election
Image: STANLEY NJENGA

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni insisted that Kiambaa was a win for the Jubilee Party because, by the time the Jubilee team hit the ground three weeks ago to campaign, it was difficult to mention the party and the President.

"So, if you are looking for the presidency in 2022 and you lose 50 per cent of your following in three weeks to your opponents, you have every reason to be worried. For us, it is a celebration," Kioni said.

Kiambu youth leader allied to the Jubilee Party Ndotch Ndegwa said politics is a game of numbers and the eight million votes from Mt Kenya can make or break any presidential candidate.

During the 2017 elections, the region had a total of 5.3 million votes.

"I am not a political Einstein but destroying what they called 99.9 per cent stronghold to 50 per cent in three weeks should send shudders to the owners of the wheelbarrow."

"If we can push to 50 per cent in 21 days, then trust me we know what to do. By the time we are getting to 2022, the fraction will be underneath 20 per cent," Ndegwa said. 

Former Sigona MCA Mutonya Njenga, however, said there are many lessons to learn for Jubilee Party and the hustler nation in the by-elections in Kiambu county.

Most importantly, he said, is the choice of candidate and the party to vie on. 

Jubilee candidate Kariri Njama (centre with face mask) with his supporters soon after he lost the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election
Jubilee candidate Kariri Njama (centre with face mask) with his supporters soon after he lost the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election
Image: STANLEY NJENGA