Mandago succession race – why battle for UDA nomination is a headache to DP Ruto

Friday, November 19th, 2021 20:12 |
Deputy President William Ruto during a past UDA Rally.PHOTO/COURTESY

A number of political contenders allied to Deputy President William Ruto have shown interest in running for the Uasin Gishu Governor seat as the race to succeed incumbent Jackson Mandago heats up.

Ruto who has promised a free and fair nomination process to those seeking the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket to run for various positions in the 2022 polls faces a headache as his close allies angle for the UDA ticket in his home backyard.

A close ally to Ruto, David Kiptoo Sing'oei is the latest entrant into the race for Uasin Gishu gubernatorial seat joining Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, his Soy counterpart Caleb Kositany who have shown an interest in the seat.

Other contenders include Kenya’s envoy to Pakistan Julius Bitok, Nairobi County Devolution executive Vesca Kangogo, politician Jonathan Bii and businessman Dennis Lagat.

Kiptoo who is currently the MCA for Ngenyiel Ward is the Chief Whip at the Uasin Gishu Assembly and has been an ardent grassroots mobiliser in the party.

“There are those who say as an MCA it’s like I am in nursery school and should seek another position like MP but not a governor. They are wrong because as MCAs we oversight the governor and go through everything the county does. I am thus well equipped to be the county boss,” Kiptoo said in an interview with the local daily.

On the other hand, Kositany who is a first-time legislator positioned himself as the best candidate to replace Mandago as the county's chief officer.

“Yes, I’ll be going for the gubernatorial seat next year. We will be seeking the people’s blessings,” Kositany told People Daily on phone.

In light of his key allies showing an interest in the gubernatorial seat and keen on flying the UDA flag, Ruto has maintained that the party's nomination process will be run democratically.

Addressing a similar nomination complaint raised by Mombasa delegates during a UDA popularisation tour within the coastal region, Ruto assured his supporters of a fair nomination process after a group accused former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar of attempting to turn the outfit into “a one-man show.”

They accused Omar, who has declared interest in the Mombasa governorship on a UDA ticket, of sidelining them during a closed-door meeting.

“Even if you are my friend, don’t expect that I will favour you or the party will give you any preference," Ruto told aspirants.

"We are building a strong democratic movement where party members will be key in deciding how we run our affairs," he added.

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