President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) continues to bolster its numerical power by targeting opposition leaders affiliated with the Azimio la Umoja coalition.
On Saturday, November 19, former Kitui senate candidate Stephen Kilonzo hosted local leaders from various political parties who jumped ship and joined Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza camp.
The leaders, mainly of ODM, Jubilee and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Narc, confirmed that they will not be in opposition for the next five years. Politicians from Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) were also part of the delegation.
President Ruto during campaigns in Nairobi.
“Our reasons for defecting to UDA is because of our people’s interest in Ukambani, we have had problems with drought, hunger and so we have decided that as a community we cannot stay out of government for another five or ten years,” remarked one of the defectors.
“People don’t just come for the pie, they come to help cook it and make the pie bigger than it is. Our wish is that through the Kenya Kwanza Manifesto, the economic benefits will not only reach those who have come, but all UKTN.”
President Ruto has been on a charm offensive, casting his net far and wide to bring on board elected leaders to support his political agenda.
The president first snapped at Mandera’s United Democratic Movement (UDM) party Senator Ali Roba, who left Azimio after the August polls.
On Thursday, August 18, UDM leaders pledged their support to Ruto as Kenya’s 5th president.
“We salute the leadership of the United Democratic Movement for leaving Azimio La Umoja and joining Kenya Kwanza.
“UDM Party Leader and Mandera-elected Senator Ali Roba, Deputy Party Leader and Marsabit Governor-elect Mohamud Ali, and Mandera Governor-elect Mohamed Adan Khalif were present at the Karen Residence, Nairobi County,” Ruto communicated shortly after meeting with the leaders.
On Friday, November 11, Lurambi MP Titus Khamala was forced to clear the air after visiting the State House in the company of other Western Region lawmakers.
The bishop explained that he was on a mission to discuss a road project that a contractor had not completed since the days of retired president Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The defection issue ended long before nominations, we are loyal to our ODM party because we have a contract with them until 2027. President Ruto is a friend. Our visit to him was all about completing projects in our constituency and nothing else,” he clarified.
In addition to Khamala, the meeting was attended by Izuilani MP Bernard Shinali, former Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and Navakholo legislator Emmanuel Wangwe.
UDA is already planning to hold basic nationwide elections in early 2023 to consolidate its base of support, aiming to merge all parties under Kenya Kwanza into one ahead of the 2027 election.
Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, Izuilani MP Shinali and former Mumia’s East MP Ben Washiali, Friday, November 11, 2022.