Waititu’s wife to fly Jubilee flag in Juja

Sunday, March 21st, 2021 15:38 |
Susan Njeri Waititu who will fly the Jubilee Ticket in Juja By Elections

Susan Njeri Waititu, the widow of Francis Munyua alias Wakapee, will now fly the Jubilee flag for Juja by-election after she won the ruling party primaries held over the weekend.

Mrs. Waititu garnered 1,596 votes against her closest competitor, Dr Joseph Ng'ang'a, former Kiambu County Education Minister who came a distant second with 889 votes.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) don Naftaly Rugara managed 669 votes to emerge third among the five contestants for the Jubilee ticket. The others were Antony Kirori who got 189 votes and Anderson Karanja Ngarachu 48.

However, the exercise was marred by low voter turnout, bribery allegations, names of voters missing in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and harassment of presiding officers.

Going by the 2017 IEBC register in the constituency, there were about 155,600 voters and only 3,391 cast their votes during Saturday’s nomination, representing about two (2) per cent.

The Jubilee leadership in the area led by Governor James Nyoro vowed to go full throttle in retaining the seat that fell vacant following the demise of Wakapee who succumbed to brain cancer which he battled for years in both local and foreign hospitals.

Speaking soon after the results were announced at Thiririka Primary School, Nyoro who was accompanied by his deputy Joyce Ngugi and a number of other prominent county leaders urged other contenders to now focus on helping Mrs Waititu and, by extension, Jubilee recapture the seat.

“The victory is not for Mrs Waititu or her family, but the entire Jubilee fraternity. We will go all out to retain the seat which belonged to the party. Defeat is not in our vocabulary,” the Governor said.

He added that the county leadership together with the entire Jubilee brigade will camp in Juja to ensure they deliver victory.

Mrs Waititu, the Jubilee flag bearer for the May 18 mini election, is a former tutor who operated a secretarial college in Ruiru before venturing into business and farming. She is also a counseling psychologist and runs several programs in aid of teenage mothers in the constituency.

Although she has brushed off allegations that she was a state-sponsored aspirant for the Juja by-election, the presence of Jubilee heavyweights led by Governor Nyoro during the presentation of the party ticket spoke volumes.

There was also heavy presence of government agents including top administrators and police officers during the voting and eventual tallying of the votes in which security was very tight.

However, Kiambu Jubilee County Assembly Caucus chairman Njoroge Kururia dismissed claims that the party had a preferred candidate and said the will of the people had prevailed.

"Those were baseless allegations. We have conducted a free and fair nomination exercise for the voters to choose their representative whom the party will fully support going forward to ensure we retain the seat," said Kururia who is also the Biashara ward MCA in Ruiru.

Mrs Waititu will now face off with other candidates including George Koimburi who defected from Jubilee to join People's Empowerment Party (PEP) associated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) affiliated to Deputy President William Ruto pulled out of the juja race, but the party is believed to be quietly supporting the PEP candidate. Ken Gachuma, a former ND-CDF chairman for the constituency who was eying the UDA ticket has decamped to another party.

Others in the race are independent candidates Dr Joseph Gichui, Zack Nderitu and James Marungo. Moses Mwenda and Eunice Wamugo who were initially seeking the UDA party ticket will also be going independently.

Mrs Waititu and Rugara had earlier cast their votes at Jomo Kenyatta primary school polling station in Juja town where both of them had expressed confidence of clinching the ticket to enable them continue with Wakapee’s development projects.

“I urge our supporters to turn out in large numbers and vote for continuity. I also ask them to ignore propaganda that is going round aimed at mudslinging some candidates,” said Mrs Waititu who was accompanied by her step-son Michael Munyua and other family members.

After emerging the winner, Njeri vowed to work closely with all the contestants to help the ruling party regain the seat and subsequently go ahead to complete the projects initiated by her departed husband.

“I am sending an olive branch to my competitors to join me in working for the people of Juja when elected. Let us embrace competitive politics and do away with negative rhetoric,” she added.

Speaking after voting at JKUAT, Rugara earlier took issue with Jubilee officials spearheading the nomination for expelling a presiding officer at Kuraiha Primary School polling station for allegedly being his supporter.

He further castigated other contestants for allegedly bribing voters at polling stations to influence the outcome of the elections.

“We have seen voters being bribed to vote a certain way. I urge Juja electorates to eat the money given to them but ignore being duped into voting a person based on their material influence. We also urge Jubilee to be swift and take action against these malpractices if indeed they are rooting for fairness,” Rugara said.

Similar claims were made by Dr Nga'ng'a, the runners up who is also a lecturer at JKUAT after casting his vote at Muigai Inn primary School. However, he had expressed confidence of capturing the ticket.

Mrs Waititu on her part dismissed the voter bribery allegations saying that her opponents were acting in fear of being defeated.

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