It is all systems go in Kiambaa as voters cast ballot tomorrow

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 00:00 |
UDA candidate for Kiambaa parliamentary by-election John Wanjiku campaigns in the area. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

Eric Wainaina @EWainaina

It is all system go for tomorrow’s Kiambaa by-election with Jubilee party and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) expected go head-to-head.

This even as Deputy President William Ruto’s allies yesterday cried foul, claiming Jubilee was plotting to rig the election

The race has attracted six candidates; Kariri Njama (Jubilee) Njuguna Wanjiku (UDA), Karomo Mucugi (Federal Party), Richard Njoroge (The New Democrats), Evans Gichia (People’s Party of Kenya) and David Mugo, Independent.

However, pundits argue that it will be a two-horse race between Njama and Wanjiku.  

Yesterday, Kiambaa Returning Officer Peter Muigai said the electoral body was  “well-prepared” for the poll, saying they had deployed about 1, 056 presiding officers and clerks to oversee the exercise in the constituency with 96,020 registered voters.

“Everything is set for the by-election. The training has been done on all the presiding officers and clerks.

We have also made arrangements with the security officers to ensure everything will take place seamlessly,” Muigai said.  

But  UDA leaders, led by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, yesterday claimed the government was trying to influence senior officials at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as well we compromising agents allied to Wanjiku with a view to compromising the process in Njama’s favour.

The lawmaker, who is among Tanga Tanga MPs who had camped in Kiambaa to campaign for Wanjiku, also made unsubstantiated claims that a Cabinet Secretary was allegedly reaching out to their agents with the intention of “buying them out.”

“Stop calling UDA agents for Kiambaa and trying to influence them to facilitate your rigging.  It will not work. People like (name withheld) whom you just called are unbwogable (unshakable).

They remain unbowed,” the controversial MP claimed. But Muigai, in a phone interview with People Daily, termed Kuria’s allegations as wild and unsubstantiated. “I have heard a lot of such wild allegations.

The authors should substantiate us,” Muigai said. Jubilee Party deputy secretary Joshua Kutuny, who is among leading campaigners for Njama also rubbished the claims.

“They have sensed defeat and are now preparing grounds to dispute the by-elections outcome.

Why should we plan to rig something we are sure of winning? We have been on the ground campaigning, which we have done properly. We also have a strong candidate.

We are telling them to hold their horses and wait for the beating,” said the Cherang’any MP.

Strong candidate

Kuria and his group have declared that Jubilee died during the Juja by-election that was won by the People’s Empowerment Party candidate and that it will also be buried in Kiambaa. 

Njama, who hails from Kihara Ward is contesting for a second time, having vied in 2017 and  managed 11,500 votes in Jubilee nominations against late MP Paul Koinange’s  16,000 votes. Since 2016, he has been running community activities through Kariri Njama Foundation focusing on education, youth social and economic empowerment through agri-business, entrepreneurship, health, and environmental conservation.

He has promised to continue with the development programmes of Koinange.

“Kiambaa requires someone who will ensure continuity and issues that have been there and that person is Kariri Njama because since 2017, I have always been with the people.

It is also clear the only people who can continue with Koinange’s  agenda can only be people  in the Jubilee government,” Kariri said.

On the other hand, the youthful Wanjiku, who hails from Karuri Ward and a new comer in politics said he would focus on building technical colleges across the constituency to empower the youth.

Gichia, the proprietor of Karuri Driving School, is contesting for the third time, having unsuccessfully vied in 2007 and lost to Cabinet Minister Njenga Karume, and in 2013 he was floored by Stanley Githunguri and in 2017 he lost to the late Koinange.

Born in Waguthu village in the constituency, Njoroge is a teacher, who rose to be an education official before his retirement.

Mugo who has a background in boda boda business and Karomo, who hails from Gacharage village will both be making their first attempt in elective politics.

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