By Joab Apollo
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) supporters are in a frenzy after handing the ruling party, Jubilee, a resounding defeat in the just concluded Kiambaa Constituency by-election, an election viewed widely as an upset to President Uhuru Kenyatta by his reneged deputy, William Ruto.
UDA’s candidate, Njuguna Wanjiku, garnered 21, 773 votes against Jubilee’s Kariri Njama who received 21, 263. The Deputy President has been on a warpath with Kenyatta since the famous March 2018 handshake between the president and opposition leader, Raila Odinga, a political ceasefire which Ruto saw as a plot to block his presidential bid.
On Friday, UDA supporters took to the streets chanting slogans and declaring Ruto the 2022 presidential election winner.
“Our movement is unstoppable. No one is going to defeat the DP. Hustler is just awaiting coronation.” Said Josaya Njuguna.
“By defeating the president in his backyard, home county, is a clear manifestation that no presidential candidate can beat Ruto.” Another UDA supporter, Ben Sang said.
The Deputy President did not hide his happiness after the victory announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya’s election agency.
” They think it’s a fight, but Kiambaa was a friendly match. We gave them a tough exam and they were clever.” He said, adding that the by-election has proven that Kenya does not need a constitutional change to conduct a peaceful election as pushed by President Kenyatta and Odinga in the much-touted Building Bridges Initiative.
These celebrations have, however, been dismissed in some quarters as a case of dancing oneself lame before the Disco Day.
“In Kenya’s electoral history by-elections have always been outliers with little or no relationship with the general election.” Said the vocal Kirinyaga County Governor, Ann Waiguru, president Kenyatta’s key lieutenant.
Ruto has announced that he will vie for the 2022 presidential election, pitting him against the veteran former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Baringo County Senator Gideon Moi, son to former Kenyan dictator, the late Daniel Arap Moi.