The resounding defeat of the ruling Jubilee Party in all the three key by elections held yesterday is not only a blow to the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s led administration but also an indictment to his handlers, political pundits contend.
Jubilee’s humbling loss in President Kenyatta’s Kiambu backyard for the Juja constituency mini polls to the little know People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) affiliated to Gatundu South Member of Parliament (MP) Moses Kuria is widely seen as a display of growing voter discontent and loosening grip of president’s influence in Central and the larger Mount Kenya region.
Kuria is allied to Deputy President William Ruto who is leading Jubilee’s breakaway rival faction that has morphed to United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The ruling party political defeat in Juja, Bonchari and Rurii Ward by elections came barely a fortnight after the High Court dealt another blow to President Kenyatta and ODM’s Raila Odinga declaring the constitutional change push through Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) illegal.
According to Amason Nzagi, a student of Political Science at the University of Nairobi, the two incidences show president’s loosening grip on power ahead of presidential elections due in less than seventeen months.
“The president must undertake radical surgery of his kitchen cabinet, advisors and even composition of his cabinet team in order to safeguard his legacy. The remainder of his term is very critical for him and this country. He must bring on board what I would call a legacy team to realise his agenda especially the Big Four delivery pillars.” Nzagi told The Informer.
George Koimburi of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) has been declared the winner of the recently concluded Juja Parliamentary seat by election.
In Juja, Koimburi of PEP garnered a total of 12,159 followed in distant second by Susan Waititu running on a Jubilee ticket with 5,746 votes.
Joseph Gichui, a young medical doctor and an independent candidate settled on a distant third with 1,356votes.
Koimburi contested against former MP Francis Munyua Waititu alias Wakapee in the 2017 general elections but lost to the late lawmaker.
Wakapee emerged the winner with 66, 190 votes while Koimburi settled on a distant second with 10, 165votes.
He vied on a Farmers Party ticket.
For Rurii Ward by elections, UDA’s Francis Muraya garnered 4,303 votes beating Jubilee’s Peter Thinji who managed 3.051 votes.
In Bonchari, ODM’s Pavel Oimeke emerged winner in the hotly contested by-election with 8,049 votes trailed at a distance by his main competitor, Jubilee’s 74-year-old Zebedeo Oporo who got 7,279.
John Oroo Oyieko of UDA came third with 6,964 votes.
Jubilee candidate loss in Bonchari has put into question control and influence of Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiang’i in the Gusii region.
Besides being touted as harbouring high stakes political ambitions, Matiang’i is one of the president’s trusted confidants who was elevated to a ‘super’ CS in 2019 after the president appointed him as the chair of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee.
He was charged to oversee implementation and monitoring of all development projects initiated and funded by the national government.
The sub-committee brought together all CSs, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
The president delegated the powers to Matiang’i in an Executive Order number 1 of 2019 signed in Mombasa.
Matiang’i seemed to antagonise the delicate ‘handshake’ coalition foundation between President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) attracting the wrath of the latter.
Raila did not only tear into Matiang’i but also warned that the “peaceful co-existence post-2018 must not be taken for granted” and “not an avenue to pursue imaginary and short-legged political interests.” Raila said.
Political pundits contend that Raila’s public reservations is a show of growing unease within handshake political arrangement and a long warning shot that he could indeed pullout of the deal with president Kenyatta.
“What we have witnessed in the by-elections in Bonchari and Juja is an abuse of police powers and an arrogant display of IMPUNITY by a few overzealous and bellicose government functionaries. An election process is an opportunity for the voters to express their will at the ballot and not an avenue to pursue IMAGINARY and SHORT-LEGGED political interests.”
He added: “Security forces exist to serve the people and not the interests of those out to conduct political experiments. The peaceful co-existence post-2018 must NOT be taken for granted by some rogue elements wanting to confuse the HANDSHAKE for an excuse to ERODE our hard-earned liberties! This must STOP!” said Raila in a post on his Twitter handle.