Jubilee changes tack as Kiambaa contest beckons

Monday, May 24th, 2021 00:00 |
Kariri Njama who will fly jubilee ticket in Kiambaa. Photo/PD/file

Smarting from last week’s embarrassing defeat where its candidate was humiliated, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has settled on businessman Kariri Njama as its candidate for the Kiambaa by-election set for July 15.

The party, on Saturday vetted five candidates who were eyeing the ticket and all odds favoured Njama who emerged second in the party primaries in 2017 after losing to the late MP Paul Koinange.

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju yesterday expressed optimism that Njama would beat Raymond Kuria who is contesting on People’s Empowerment Party (PEP); a party associated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Njuguna Wa Wanjiku; who is vying on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

Though he declined to divulge details, Tuju told People Daily the ruling party was keen to recapture the seat through among other things smart campaign strategies in favour of their candidate.

Blame games

“We got a good candidate who has what it takes to win. Of course, as a party we have a strategy which we cannot share.

We are past Juja, we conceded defeat, if there were any mistakes, we have learnt and we shall correct but we cannot dwell in the past and continue with blame games,” Tuju said.

The by-election has also sparked a sibling rivalry in the Tanga Tanga camp; Kuria buoyed by the Juja victor is determined to secure a second seat.

Mukurwe-ini MP Gigathi Gachagua and his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung’wa have on the other hand moved to campaign for the UDA candidate. After receiving the certificate, Njama expressed optimism in winning the seat.

“After a long wait, through prayers, I have been granted the chance to lead our Kiambaa constituency to a prosperous future on a Jubilee ticket,” said Njama, who has already hit the ground running ahead of the July 15 contest.

Those who were eyeing the Jubilee ticket besides Njama are Josephat Kamanya, the late Koinange’s widow June, Lennah Koinange and Damaris Wambui.

While Kamanya, June and Lennah accepted the results, Wambui who has been serving as director in charge of Liaison in Kiambu Governor James Nyoro’s administration rejected the outcome and defected to UDA, offering to support its candidate.

“That candidate who has been picked by the party is a very weak candidate. In fact, as UDA, we will not struggle much,” Wambui told a press conference in which she hurled harsh words against the party leadership.

But last evening, Wambui called a presser at Elysian Hotel on Kiambu Road where she recanted her statement.

“I have run my campaign on Jubilee platform for the last two months hoping to be nominated by the people of Kiambaa as the party’s flagbearer.

As you are ware, the party decided to run its nominations by way of interviews.  Unfortunately, the position was not given to me and it was out of this disappointment that I said on Saturday that I have moved out of the Jubilee party, (in favour of UDA).

After soul searching, I have decided to withdraw my yesterday’s remarks,” said Wambui who was flanked by Nyoro and former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru.

The Jubilee party shelved its primaries which were scheduled for Saturday for the interviews that were held at the party headquarters, with sources saying the party was ready to go any length to get the best candidate.

Njama is considered as a strong candidate, having vied for the first time during the 2017 primaries, garnering 11,500 votes against Koinange who garnered 16,000 votes for the party ticket. 

He returned to the race as an independent candidate and garnered approximately 15,000 votes while Koinange, the eventual winner got 69,000 votes. Recently Njama was strongly associated with Ruto having visited his Karen residence in November last year. 

Njama also hosted the DP in Banana, Kiambu county in February 2021, something his opponents tried albeit unsuccessfully to use against him during the interviews.

The Jubilee brigade is said to have been privy to intelligence that the Tanga Tanga brigade planned to infiltrate its primaries and ensure a weak candidate “won”.

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