The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party associated with Deputy President William Ruto has officially pulled out of the Juja Parliamentary by-election scheduled for May 18, avoiding a direct battle with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.
UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina confirmed on Monday that the party had resolved to shelve plans to field a candidate in the mini-poll occasioned by the death of Francis Munyua Waititu ‘Wakapee.’
We will not be fielding a candidate in the Juja Parliamentary by-election slated for May, 2021. God Bless the People of Juja, Kiambu County.
— United Democratic Alliance (@UDAKenya) March 15, 2021
“We are officially out of the race. That means we will not be fielding any candidate,” Maina confirmed without giving reasons for the decision.
This writer understands that a number of hopefuls had expressed interest in vying for the seat on the party ticket and had already started lobbying ahead of party primaries.
They are Ken Gachuma, a former NG-CDF chairman for the vast constituency, Eunice Mugo, a relative of former Ruiru mayor Wilson Mugo and Zack Wang’ombe.
Sources in the know claim that the party withdrew from the race to avoid a contest with President Kenyatta, who enjoys a huge following in the region.
The move to withdraw from the race now paves way for a two-horse race between Jubilee and Gatundu South MP’s People’s Empowerment Party (PEP).
While the ruling party is set to conduct primaries to pick a candidate to fly its flag in the mini-poll, Kuria’s party has already settled on politician and businessman George Koimburi, who came second in the 2017 Juja Constituency election.
However, critics opine that the Moses Kuria candidate enjoys support from UDA which didn’t want to compete with Uhuru directly and worsen the relationship between the President and his deputy.
Kuria is a close ally of DP Ruto.
UDA will field a candidate in Juja through the People Empowerment Party.
Waache uongo !!
— Robert Alai, HSC (@RobertAlai) March 16, 2021
UDA, which is touted as the vehicle that Ruto will use in the 2022 race to State House following the deep divisions in the ruling Jubilee party, fielded its first candidates in the March 4 by-elections as part of efforts to popularise its “hustler” ideology across the country ahead of the next year elections.
Out of the seven by-elections conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the party won Nakuru’s London Ward seat.
UDA’s Anthony Nzuki trounced Francis Njoroge of Jubilee after he garnered 1,707 votes against Njoroge’s 1,385.