Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru finally crosses to Ruto camp
Deputy President William Ruto was yesterday grappling with a fresh headache after welcoming Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) where she will battle it out with her fierce rival, Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici, for the party’s ticket to contest the governor’s seat.
For long, Ngirici has positioned herself as the DP’s stalwart in the county and the automatic choice for the UDA ticket, a stature which now hangs precariously following Waiguru’s defection to the DP’s corner.
Also said to be seeking the party’s ticket for the governor’s seat include Waiguru’s predecessor Joseph Ndathi, while former Ndia MP Njeru Githae who is Kenya’s ambassador to Austria, is also said to be heading home to join the race.
Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua is also running although she is yet to declare which presidential candidate she will back.
Apparently conscious of the turf wars between the two “iron ladies” of Kirinyaga politics, Ruto sought to allay fears that the party’s ticket would be given to a favoured candidate, saying the nominations will be free and just and that everyone will have to fight for it following due process.
“I want to assure our members that we have put in place proper nomination regulations which will be free and fair to all,” Ruto said.
A source told People Daily that Ngirici had been invited for yesterday’s event at Ruto’s Karen residence but turned down the invite. She later “welcomed” her nemesis through a social media message.
“UDA house is a big house. She is welcome,” she posted on her Facebook page.
Waiguru, who was accompanied by 23 MCAs, said she had consulted widely and all, including family members, supporters and friends, told her to join UDA.
“I have asked for wisdom, I have listened, in politics, you must be very careful to stay relevant and you must listen to the people,” Waiguru said in her address.
Waiguru’s defection did not go well with her former party (Jubilee) which, according to Deputy Secretary-General Joshua Kutuny, was inconsequential and good riddance.
“Waiguru is one of those politicians who used think her closeness to the party leader (President Uhuru Kenyatta) would help her. She is an attention seeker,” said Kutuny.
Waiguru said her move was honest, informed by pressure from people on the ground.
“It is only a fool who can continue being in the same political path with the kind of pressure that I have been facing,” she said.
The governor noted that the country’s politics had changed, and it is the people who are the ultimate decision-makers.
“We have listened to the ground and the people of Kirinyaga have told us chama ni UDA, form ni hustler na mpango ni bottom up.
The last meeting where the people of Kirinyaga spoke was during Mashujaa celebrations at Wanguru stadium, anyone who was there heard the ground,” she said.
“You cannot dictate to them. I have shifted to support the Bottom-Up Economic Development Model,” she added.
Ruto lauded Waiguru and the people of Kirinyaga for the move.
“It is a difficult but bold political decision; it will shape the future of our country,” said Ruto.
Added the DP: “The growing belief that there is need for an economic paradigm shift is encouraging.
More leaders are appreciating that the Trickle-Down economics has not worked in our country; it is time to embrace the revolutionary Bottom-Up Economic Model that will empower millions of ordinary Kenyans.”
He said Kenya will easily be transformed when leaders work together.
“We do not have a luxury of hate and division. We need everyone on board to confront our challenges,” Ruto said.
The Deputy President said the energy and focus that leaders used to form Jubilee Party will be used to build UDA.
He said UDA was keen on having more women in political leadership.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua told Waiguru to prepare for a tough race ahead.
“They (government) will harass you. But stay firm and continue serving the people of Kirinyaga,” he said.
Ngirici had previously dared Waiguru to join UDA to compete with her in the party’s nominations.
Reacting to rumours on Waiguru’s defection, the Women Rep said she will not hesitate to quit UDA should the party hand the governor the party’s nomination on a silver platter.
She said she was not tied to UDA “like a goat” and could leave if she felt she was not treated fairly.
“I am not afraid of any possible competition, let them come including those still listening to the ground,” Ngirici said.