By Sarah Omondi
Chama cha Kazi leader Moses Kuria and his Tujibebe Party counterpart William Kabogo for the second time snubbed Kenya Kwanza rallies in Kiambu County sending signals that they could be on their way out of the coalition.
While leaders supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s stab at Presidency traversed Thika, Juja and Ruiru popularizing the bottom up economic model, the pair vying for Kiambu gubernatorial seat were attending burial of a top businessman.
Following Wednesday’s bitter altercation between Senator Kimani Wamatangi seeking the coveted seat on UDA ticket and ex-Governor Kabogo, the leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with how they were being treated in the coalition.
“Chama cha Kazi and Tujibebe Party have following the unfortunate incident on June 15 decided to pull out of the UDA caravan as they are set up to embarrass other parties…,” the leaders said in a June 16 letter signed by Secretary Generals Gathii Irungu and James Nage of Tujibebe and Chama cha Kazi.
The bitter exchange happened on the first day of Mt Kenya Express Caravan in Limuru, Lari and Githunguri constituencies.
Mr Kuria, who is the Gatundu South MP, and Mr Kabogo cited the embarrassment of their TSP counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri four days earlier (June 11) in Nyahururu and Nanyuki in front of DP Ruto and DP leader Justin Muturi.
The former Agriculture CS recently asked his supporters to elect their preferred Presidential candidate in the August polls over what he alleged as plans by UDA to force six piece into Mt Kenya thereby sidelining other parties in the coalition.
The pair wondered why candidates from Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya, Maendeleo Chap Chap and Pamoja African Alliance were not being disrespected claiming there was a plan to disappoint parties from vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
“…a decision has been made by some quarters that parties with strong footing in Mt Kenya are not wanted in Kenya Kwanza Alliance,” the letter read in part with the leaders saying the violence meted on Chama cha Kazi’s candidates and supporters in Othaya on June 7 as another insensitivity.
The leaders further requested for an official meeting with DP Ruto, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula to deliberate on the unacceptable bullying by UDA Party and plans to marginalize and frustrate the Mountain politically.
“We formed Kenya Kwanza out of free will despite harassment, blackmail and intimidation from the government. We did so because we subscribe to the transformative bottom up agenda. We however did not leave abusive Jubilee house to replace it with another abusive one in the name of UDA,” the letter further said.
The differences played out during the Friday rallies with groups of youths chanting Kabogo slogans at one point shouting down Mr Wamatangi.
DP Ruto’s running mate and Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua responded to Mr Kuria and Mr Kabogo’s complains asking them to separately convene their own meetings and sell their agenda.
“If you have your own issues, convene your meetings because we do not want fracas at our meetings,” Mr Gachagua said on Friday noting that the infighting could deny them a lot of votes.
In a video that circulated online, Mr Kabogo is heard saying he had decided to keep off the campaign trail after realizing that UDA had a plan to “kill” parties from Mt Kenya.
The leader also drew Mr Gachagua into their woes saying he would cost DP Ruto a lot of votes in the region.
DP Ruto had by Friday not responded to the allegations nor met the leaders.
The ongoing sibling rivalry threatens Dr Ruto’s quest to galvanize his support in the region perceived to be in his grip especially at a time when his rival Raila Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua is seen to be making considerable inroads in the region.