The United Democratic Alliance has promised to do everything it takes to beat Jubilee in the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election scheduled for July 15.
The seat fell vacant following the death of MP Paul Koinange in March. He was a Jubilee lawmaker.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will next week gazette the names of the candidates for the election.
But UDA, linked to Deputy President William Ruto, belivieves Jubilee flagbearer will be the candidate to beat. The race is already a showdown between the two parties after Moses Kuria’s Peoples Empowerment Party pulled out its candidate.
The by-election is expected rekindle the bitter Jubilee-UDA rivalry that hit the crescendo in the just concluded Juja parliamentary poll.
In Juja, Jubilee’s Susan Waititu lost to George Koimburi who ran on the PEP ticket.
Koimburi had the backing of UDA.
And even before the IEBC officially gazettes the nominated candidates to usher in formal campaigns in Kiambaa, the battle lines are already drawn between Jubilee’s Karanja Kariri and UDA’s John Nguguna.
The UDA party already received a major boost following PEP’s withdrawal from the race. Kiambaa is in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kiambu backyard.
Through Ruto’s intervention, Kuria pulled out of the race to avert sibling rivalry that would have handed Jubilee an easy ride to retain the seat.
“We are moving into the campaigns knowing that we are facing a worthy opponent. However, we shall stop at nothing to ensure we deliver the seat for our party,” UDA secretary general Veronica Maina said.
Others in the race are Willie Mbugua (Independent), David Mugo (Independent), Isaac Karomo (Federal Party of Kenya), Lucy Wanjiru (Party of National Unity), Evans Gichia (People’s Party of Kenya) and Richard Njoroge (The New Democrats).
Maina said UDA believes it has presented to the people of Kiambaa the strongest candidate.
“We held free and fair nominations and we believe that ours is the strongest candidate in the Kiambaa contest,” she said.
UDA has also fronted Joseph Githinji as its candidate for the Muguga ward by-election in Murang’a county.
This even as it emerged that the Kiambaa campaigns would be a major test for Ruto’s allies who have been marketing the hustler narrative in Kiambu.
Analysts say the race will be closely watched as it will also be a litmus test for the DP’s confidants in the county including Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Kuria.
“The battle will purely be a rematch of the Juja race in which Jubilee lost. In Kiambaa, Jubilee is keen in capturing the seat as a testimony of the President’s influence,” political analyst Kimani Mwangi said.
Kiambaa will not be a walk in the park for the UDA candidate as it will be coming up against a strong political machine comprising the President’s confidants, Mwangi said.
“Smarting from the embarrassing lose in Juja, nobody should try to imagine that UDA will have an easy ride in Kiambaa. It is going to be a titanic showdown,” he said.
Edited by P.O