The withdrawal of the United Democratic Alliance from the Juja parliamentary race has seemingly left the battlefield to two parties.
The by-election, occasioned by the death of MP Francis Munyua, alias Wakapee, on February 22, is now expected to narrow down to a Jubilee candidate versus Moses Kuria’s People’s Empowerment Party candidate George Koimburi.
UDA, in a statement released by secretary general Veronica Maina on Monday, said the party will not field a candidate. The by-election is scheduled for May 18.
The party linked to Deputy President William Ruto had invited candidates eyeing the post to apply for nomination.
Three candidates—Eunice Wanjiru, a relative of former Ruiru Mayor William Mugo; Kenn Gachuma, a businessman who worked under the late MP as CDF chairman between 2013 and 2015; and businessman Zack Wang’ombe—had submitted their applications and were gearing up for the nomination.
The three have now been sent back to the drawing board after UDA’s withdrawal and will now have to seek other parties’ nomination.
Wanjiru has already secured The New Democrats ticket and is optimistic of winning the seat. Gachuma and Wang’ombe had yet to make public their next moves.
Koimburi, who was previously seeking the Jubilee ticket, defected to Kuria’s PEP. His defection has left the race for the Jubilee ticket to three contenders, including Wakapee’s widow Njeri, former Kiambu Education executive Joseph Kang’ethe and JKUAT don Muiga Rugara.
Koimburi told journalists on Monday that his defection followed threats and intimidation from top political leaders from the county who had been pressuring him to step down in favour of Njeri.
“When I took my nomination application papers to the Jubilee headquarters, I was promised that the party primaries would be fair and transparent. But after my investigations, I have realised that the primaries will be bungled in favour of one of the aspirants,” he said.
“I’ve been intimidated to a point of giving up on Jubilee. I’ve been receiving threatening calls from unknown people and at times anonymous people are trailing me and it’s making me fear for my life.”
The businessman noted that even after joining Kuria’s PEP, he is still being pressured to entirely withdraw from the race. “They want me to give up my candidature and they are claiming that they have been directed by top Jubilee officials to ensure that I withdraw my candidature,” he said.