The supremacy battle pitting the top two Kirinyaga politicians in Governor Anne Waiguru and Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici played out during Deputy President William Ruto’s tour of the county yesterday.
Trouble started at Kianyaga trading centre in Gichugu constituency early in the morning when a group of youths arrived in vehicles and started distributing Waiguru’s campaign jackets.
A rival group of youths and some residents who had been keeping vigil at the trading centre awaiting Ruto’s arrival suddenly attacked the pro-Waiguru group, snatched them the campaign jackets and set them ablaze after which they vowed not to allow the governor to address Ruto’s rally.
Police had a hard time containing the pro-Ngirici youths who were threatening to attack the rival group, accusing the governor of poor leadership.
“We shall not relent until Waiguru is stopped from addressing Ruto rallies because she has failed us,” said one youth.
At the nearby Kianyaga All Saints ACK church where the DP was expected to attend the Sunday Service, tension was palpable as Waiguru and Ngirici lined up sideby-side, but without uttering a word to each other as they awaited the chief guest.
When Ruto finally arrived accompanied by several MPs and local leaders shortly before 11am, he first greeted Waiguru, then reached over to Ngirici before posing for photographs with both of them, the governor to his right and the woman representative on the left.
The tensions were extended inside the church where the governor and the women representative sat on the right and left side of the deputy president, respectively.
The Kirinyaga ACK bishop Joseph Kibucho, however, barred all the politicians, including Ruto, from addressing the congregation, only acknowledging their presence before proceeding with the day’s sermon.
The rivalry reared its ugly head again at the Kianyaga trading centre where the DP addressed a crowd after the church service.
While Waiguru received a thunderous applause from the crowd when invited by Ruto to address the gathering, Ngirici was repeatedly booed and forced to cut short her speech.
Ugly head Tables turned in Kutus town where Waiguru was heckled by the crowd and forced to cut short her speech after matters threatened to get out of hand.
Ngirici was, however, well received with the crowd cheering her all through her speech. She has declared interest in the governor’s seat while Waiguru is seeking re-election.
Others who have declared interest in the seat include former Justice Minister Martha Karua and former governor Joseph Ndathi.
Addressing the locals in Kianyaga town, Ruto urging politicians seeking election to ensure they keep peace. He told the leaders to desist from using the youth to cause violence and instead focus on offering solutions to the country’s challenges.
Ruto said the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party advocates for political tolerance. “We are peaceful people focused on the transformation of our nation. We are not violent people. Those who believe in the use of violence are known,” he said.
Ngirici has declared interest in the governor’s seat while Waiguru us seeking re-election. Others who have also declared interest in the seat include former Justice minister Martha Karua and former governor Joseph Ndathi.
Waiguru recently joined UDA in a muchpublicised public function, upsetting the Ngirici camp which had been the face of Ruto campaigns in the county.
“Don’t say you were frustrated when you are also trying to frustrate others. It will be dangerous if we all get into one vehicle,” said the former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary. Kiunjuri, a leading figure of Mt Kenya leaders Forum, said pre and post-election coalitions will be entered into only if there will be political parties with backing.
“Sasa hivi unataka kumaliza vyama vingine lakini hujui kule mbele kutakuwa aje. you may also need us huko mbele,” (You want to kill other parties but we never know what will happen in future) said Kiunjuri.
Party euphoria While advocating what he called “mix-andcatch” voting pattern, Kiunjuri said party euphorias may yield poor leaders who only ride on party popularity but have no good track record.
The Mt Kenya region has in the recent months seen many political parties being founded. Kiunjuri said more political parties should be encouraged. “We were in Jubilee and everyone knows what happened,” he said.
Kiunjuri also accused Ruto of applying double standards by calling for the dissolution of small political parties in the Mt. Kenya region, but advocating for a working relationship with parties in other regions.
He added: “The young people are looking at us to provide solutions not to drive them to violence.” Fair nominations He assured UDA aspirants that the party will conduct free and fair nominations. The DP told the party’s aspirants that the voters who have the final say. “Everyone is welcome to UDA.