The Jubilee Party is facing an uphill task as it seeks to capture the Thika Town parliamentary seat in President Kenyatta’s Kiambu backyard.
This follows stiff opposition that has been mounted against the incumbent MP Alice Ng’ang’a by independent candidate Patrick Wainaina, a businessman who lost narrowly in the Jubilee primaries.
While Ms Ng’ang’a won the Jubilee ticket, Mr Wainaina has maintained that the primaries were skewed in her favour.
The MP garnered 15,880 votes against Mr Wainaina’s 14,731 but the latter claims that he was denied victory by the party.
Known as Jungle for his Thika-based macadamia processing plant, Jungle Nut, and whose campaign slogan is “Hapa kazi tu”, Mr Wainaina has unleashed a serious onslaught against the MP in the bid to capture the seat on August 8.
Their competition has already caught the attention of security chiefs in the area who have severally summoned them following reports of pockets of violence during their campaigns.
During a visit by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in Thika last week, the MP was humiliated after the crowd which had gathered in Thika Stadium heckled her when she was called out to address them.
The President and his deputy had just concluded their speeches in which they asked voters to vote back the MP.
Mr Ruto invited Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, Ms Gathoni Wamuchomba (woman rep candidate) and Ms Ng’ang’a to address the crowd in an attempt to affirm their endorsement for the candidates.
While the others were accorded a warm reception, Ms Ng’ang’a was heckled, with the hostile crowd shouting in favour of Mr Wainaina, who was at the dais but was not acknowledged.
PLEA RO RIVALS
Her attempts to plead with her competitors to accept defeat were thwarted by the crowd which amplified the heckling, forcing her to cut short her speech as the leaders who were seated at the dais watched in disbelief.
Mr Wainaina had arrived at the stadium about an hour before the president’s arrival, and found his way to the dais amidst attempts by Ms Ng’ang’a’s supporters and nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi to have him ejected.
At some point Mr Wainaina was almost lifted out of the seat he had occupied at the back of the presidential tent but the crowd shouted in his support.
This is not the first time ground is proving to be shaky for the MP who has been a fierce critic of Governor William Kabogo, considering she has previously been heckled during the president’s visits.
Mr Wainaina who has been credited with initiating projects in the constituency has complained that some of them have been vandalised, notably the Athena bridge near Witeithie where 12 culverts were reduced to rubble.
He said his foundation has lost an estimated Sh15 million through the vandalism which he has reported to the police.