Kuria’s PEP outfit raises eyebrows in Ruto camp

Monday, May 24th, 2021 00:00 |
Tanga Tanga MPs, led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa during a past press briefing at Parliament buildings in Nairobi. Photo/PD/file

Sibling rivalry is simmering within Deputy President William Ruto’s camp as leaders allied to him engage in public spats.

The tension has been sparked by recent by-election results and the forthcoming mini poll in Kiambaa constituency as well as competing interests ahead of 2022 polls.

At the centre of the current wars is Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s People’s Empowerment Party that clinched last week’s Juja parliamentary by-election and is fielding a candidate in Kiambaa.

MPs from Mt Kenya close to Ruto feel that Kuria’s party will divide what they call the ‘Hustler’s Nation’ support, which should be firmly in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Last weekend, Kuria and Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua were engaged in a war of words on who should be ‘Hustler Nation’ candidate in Kiambaa, as both parties field rival candidates.

And in Nakuru, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri convened a press conference to attack Senator Susan Kihika, who is eyeing the Nakuru gubernatorial seat in what insiders say is a reflection of what may be coming in the days ahead.

The competing interests, according to DP Ruto insiders, are healthy, since they show popularity of their candidate but warn may also backfire, as they may cause divisions.

“What you are seeing is healthy competition since people have divergent views.

However, most of those exchanging words converge on one point; the support for DP Ruto’s presidential bid,” Belgut MP Nelson Koech said.

While downplaying the rift in Mt Kenya among DP supporters, Koech, however, said the rivalry between Ngunjiri and Kihika appears to be a mystery. 

“Susan Kihika is not eyeing the Bahati seat while Ngunjiri does not want to be governor.

Their differences cannot be explained,” he said. Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah also downplayed the perceived rift, saying political contest and exchange of words is normal.

Veiled reference

“Moses Kuria has insulted almost every leader. I will be surprised if he has not insulted anyone but the differences you are talking about are non-existent,” Ichungwa said.

Last weekend, Rigathi dismissed Kuria’s PEP affiliated party as the choice of “Hustler Nation’ for Kiambaa while warning him not to rife in Ruto’s wave. 

“The Hustler Nation candidate is the UDA candidate John Njuguna Wanjiku. Any other person should not claim to be part of the Hustler Nation,” Rigathi said.

This seems to have provoked Kuria, who took to social media to dismiss the Mathira MP saying “once a DO, always a DO, in a veiled reference to the Mathira MP’s stint in the provincial administration during the Kanu era as a Special District Officer.

Yesterday, Kuria told People Daily that the PEP party will continue fielding candidates in the run up to next year’s General Election, saying it will be PEP verses UDA.

“People who do not  feel comfortable in UDA but support DP Ruto have a home in PEP.

We are running away from a situation where sitting MPs use a party such as UDA to settle personal scores and dictate who gets a ticket to vie. By 2022, it will be UDA verses PEP even as we support the DP.”

However, an MP affiliated to UDA who sought anonymity described Kuria’s PEP as a nuisance that has to be addressed once and for all.

“Politically Moses Kuria will rise in the DP camp as he appears to have pushed aside Kiunjuri. One of his allies such as Irungu Kangata was instrumental in convince DP not to have UDA field candidate in Juja hence alongside Kuria they will rise in the camp hence making Kuria to seek running mate slot,” the MP said.

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