Juja contestants adopt new tactics to campaign amid Covid-19
The contest for the Juja parliamentary seat is taking a new dimension with aspirants adopting new techniques to beat Covid-19 restrictions.
This comes in the wake of the recent presidential ban on political gatherings in a bid to combat the deadly third wave of Coronavirus, a move which appears to have dealt a blow to those seeking to capture the seat in the May 18 by-election.
Some of the contestants have resorted to door-to-door campaigns, social media and use of development projects to woo voters instead of the hitherto popular public gatherings and road shows which are no longer tenable.
“The campaigns have taken a new direction as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. We have to change strategy to avoid new infections,” said Independent candidate Dr Joseph Gichui.
“Now that meetings have been outlawed, the best way out is to take projects to the electorate. This ensures that we avoid meeting large numbers of people,” said the aspirant who has resorted to grading roads in various areas of the vast constituency.
Dr Gichui alias ‘Dawa ya Juja’ is one of the more than 10 aspirants seeking to replace departed MP Francis Munyua Waititu alias Wakapee who succumbed to brain cancer a month ago.
The youthful aspirant kicked off his road grading initiative at Murram area of Theta ward and pledged to team up with the county government and other stakeholders to improve infrastructure, healthcare and water supply.
Residents welcomed the gesture saying the area has been neglected for too long and that the area becomes impassable whenever it rains.
“I believe repairing our roads is an effective way of campaigning rather than meeting people and dishing out money,” said Pauline Kanyanga, a resident.
Another aspirant George Koimburi who ditched Jubilee for the newly founded People's Empowerment Party (PEP) associated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has also resorted to building public toilets in various areas.
One such project at the Witeithie market ran him into trouble with administration officials who attempted to stop him but the politician stuck to his guns and went ahead to complete the toilet. He has also built another one at a public cemetery in Murera ward.
“We are obliged to serve our people even without having been elected. I have personally been assisting people from the area since the advent of Coronavirus and I am not going to stop,” said Koimburi.
The seat has attracted a number of other hopefuls including Wakapee's widow Susan Njeri who won the Jubilee Party ticket last Saturday beating four others.
Also in the race is Ken Gachuma, a former Juja NG-CDF chairman who served under Wakapee, Moses Mwenda, Eunice Wamugo, Zack Nderitu, Dorcas Wanjiru Chege and Moses Marungo.
Dr Joseph Ng'ang'a who was seeking the Jubilee ticket is said to be going ahead to contest either as an independent candidate or join another party. Naftaly Rugara who was also contesting for the Jubilee ticket has pulled out of the race and is expected to support one of the candidates.
“I have decided I will not be in the ballot for now and soon I will announce whom I will be supporting, but definitely not the Jubilee candidate,” Rugara said.