Jubilee shocks its Kitui West loyalists by endorsing Wiper’s Edith Nyenze
Jubilee party has thrown the Kitui West by-election into a political spin after endorsing the Wiper party nominee Edith Nyenze.
Mrs Nyenze, the widow of the late Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze clinched the Wiper party ticket to contest the seat held by her late husband in the upcoming by-election during party primaries held on Tuesday this week.
The shock move by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party which caught many by surprise, including aspirants seeking Jubilee party ticket, was announced by the party’s secretary-general Raphael Tuju.
In a statement released Friday evening, Mr Tuju said the party had decided to not to field any candidate for the upcoming by-election, after wide consultations within the party and putting into consideration other factors touching on the constituency.
Mr Tuju said the party had observed that the candidate from the other major party in the by-election contest was Edith Nyenze, the wife to the late MP Francis Nyenze, who died four months after winning the Kitui West parliamentary seat.
“It is therefore appropriate and compassionate that the widow be granted a chance by the people of Kitui west to implement the development agenda championed by her late husband who was a leader of national repute, if that is their wish” read the statement.
Four aspirants, including Jubilee party’s nominee for the August 2017 General Election Ben Mbai, Nairobi lawyer Nzuki Mwinzi, the late Nyenze’s sister Kamene Nyenze and Susan Love were hoping to be nominated to fly Jubilee’s flag in the mini poll.
The aspirants expressed shock at the party’s last minute decision to withdraw from the race saying backing a candidate of a rival political party is a drawback to democracy and fair competition.
They claimed that they were not consulted by the party and that they had incurred huge costs in procuring campaign materials including posters, banners and t-shirts.
Mr Mbai who seemed like the obvious choice for the party had already started distributing posters.
“Wiper and Nasa are competitors with Jubilee party for power right from the grassroots, what is the big interest for Jubilee in Kitui West to pull out of the race and throw its weight behind Mrs Nyenze?” asked Rodgers Kaleve, a resident of Kabati.
Mr Kaleve said the move by Jubilee to endorse a Wiper candidate may offend some diehard Nasa supporters in Kitui County.
“Jubilee has a right to or not field candidates for elective positions anywhere in the country but to support a Nasa candidate is suspect” Mr Kaleve said.
STATE HOUSE VISIT
During the nomination campaigns, Mrs Nyenze had to distance herself from social media reports linking her to a secret State House visit recently.
She denied the reports, which alleged that she was taken by former Kitui Senator David Musila to meet President Kenyatta, to be condoled for her husband’s death, as fabricated to dent her loyalty to the Wiper party.
Mrs Nyenze garnered 13,388 votes against her sole opponent in the party Maluki Kitili Mwendwa who got 2,663 votes, to fly the Wiper party flag in the by-election scheduled for March 26th.
Mr Mwendwa, immediately conceded defeat and congratulated Mrs Nyenze “for a well-run campaign” and offered to support her win the main election.
“To my worthy opponent, congratulations madam. You ran a great campaign and you have my full support going forward” Mr Mwendwa said in a brief statement.