Waiguru finds feet in Ruto’s camp after series of flip-flops
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is preparing ground to ditch Jubilee Party for Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) after months of flip-flopping.
The move will be a dramatic about-turn for a politician who has been blowing hot and cold.
A strong supporter of the now collapsed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Waiguru has been endorsing ODM leader Raila Odinga during rallies.
Her latest was in the Azimio la Umoja meeting in Nakuru graced by Raila, which she recanted a week later.
At the initial stages of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term, Waiguru had developed a bromance with Ruto but took a different turn after the Head of State’s Handshake with Raila.
Indeed, she had packaged herself in the league of Ruto’s possible running mates before retreating to the Handshake political cooperation between Uhuru and Raila.
As recent as last week, the governor hinted at possibilities of being presidential running mate having confessed that she had received numerous offers to be a possible running mate to leading presidential contenders.
She, however, declined the offers and maintained she is only interested in defending her seat.
Addressing a crowd in Kirinyaga County, Waiguru said she has chosen to remain true to her promise and listen to what the people of Kirinyaga were saying.
The governor had asked the crowd to recommend the political vehicle of their choice as an assurance of her re-election. The crowd chanted UDA.
“Na nikasema nitafanya vile watu wa Kirinyaga wanasema. Mimi nitawauliza ndugu zangu na dada zangu kwa sababu naskia mumesema mtanirudisha, mnataka ni kuje na chama gani hapa Kirinyaga? Nikuje na chama gani huku Kirinyaga? ( I said I will do as Kiringaga People say.
I want to ask you my brothers and sisters, because I have over heard that you plan to re-elect me. Which party do you recommend for me?” asked Waiguru amidst UDA support chants.
She continued: “Nikikuja na hiyo chama mtanirudisha? Wangapi watanirudisha kwa kiti ya 2022? Mimi nitasema sio mimi bali nitauliza wananchi, na vile wananchi wanasema hiyo ndio njia tutafuata (When I come with that Party, will you re-elect me? How many will re-elect me in 2022? If they ask me why I chose that party, I will tell them that the people of Kirinyaga picked it for me.)”
The announcement could set the stage for a bruising nomination contest in UDA between Waiguru and Woman Rep Purity Ngirici, a well-oiled Ruto die-hard in central Kenya.
Early this month, Waiguru expressed fears of losing her seat if she was to seek re-election via the ruling party ticket in the 2022 General Election.
“The truth of the matter is that defending my seat if the polls were held today would be very difficult. And that is the truth of the matter,” Waiguru said as Ngirici welcomed her to the party nominations.
At the time, she said she cannot rule out working with Ruto in 2022 but also said it was still too early to tell whether she could join UDA.
The Uhuru loyalist was in a group of elected leaders from Mt Kenya region who endorsed Raila 2022 presidential bid end of last month where she said the region will follow the President’s direction with regard to his successor.
Raila and Waiguru had a tumultuous relationship emanating for the National Youth Service scandal when the Opposition chief called for her sacking.
Waiguru even sued Raila for defamation but the two buried the hatchet following the handshake.
“If there is someone who has been on the forefront of supporting the handshake is Governor Minji Minji (her nickname). From day one when hands were shaken. I made peace. I cried.
I had even sued Raila,” Waiguru during the Nakuru meeting during which she appeared to have endorsed Raila.
However, she called a press conference a week later to disown the endorsement.
“We have not settled on anyone. There have been speculations that we are leaning towards Raila Odinga.
That is not true. In fact, what we are doing is pure consultations. Whoever we think will articulate our issues is the one we will support,” she said.
In the past, Waiguru has also had a spat with Ruto with the most famous being in 2016 when he dismissed then Devolution Cabinet Secreatry defence of her alleged role in the NYS scandal as mere “catwalk and kizungu mingi”.
According to Ruto, she was main suspect in the loss of Sh791 million in YNS..
“Kingereza mingi, mnatufanyia catwalk hapa around na ni wazi pesa ya umma imepotea, mwenye hiyo pesa anasema aliweka kwa gunia. Sasa kweli jameni dunia hii…” said the DP.
But in a later interview in response to Ruto’s comments, Waiguru said she did not expect an apology from the DP.
“ I have never discussed the issue with him. We have a good, cordial and professional relationship,” she said.