Blame game, complaints cloud Jubilee campaigns

Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege addresses supporters at a stop-over in Gatanga during a Jubilee Party campaign caravan. [Photo: Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

A split has hit the Jubilee presidential campaign team as two governors in Mt Kenya East claim the provincial administration has been deployed against them.

Governors Peter Munya (Meru) and Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka Nithi) have accused their respective county commissioners of actively campaigning for Jubilee candidates.

Turf wars

In Murang’a, Governor Mwangi wa Iria skipped the presidential campaign caravan on Thursday, saying he was deliberately kept in the dark. A team of party aspirants from various parts of the country trooped to Murang’a on Thursday for the launch of the presidential campaigns, only to be met with the noticeable absence of Iria.

Maragua constituency candidate Mary Njoroge also skipped the caravan. Both Iria and Njoroge blamed Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria of scheming to lock them out and importing ‘foreigners’ to conduct the campaigns.

Ms Njoroge questioned Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba’s presence, saying he should concentrate on his Western Kenya base which is an opposition stronghold. “Presidential campaigns require adequate planning, not last minute rush,” she said.

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But Sabina said she had invited all county leaders and accused Wa Iria of ignoring calls and text messages.

Iria hit back, saying preparations were done behind his back. “A few people should not be allowed to mess up his campaigns for their personal agenda,” said the governor.

It is in Meru and Tharaka Nithi, however, that the loudest protests have been heard. Governors Munya and Ragwa have accused local national government representatives of campaigning for Jubilee candidates. Munya is defending his seat on a PNU ticket, while Ragwa is running on Narc-Kenya. Both parties are supporting President Kenyatta’s re-election.

Munya was particularly irked by the uncertainty that surrounded Madaraka Day celebrations, with the venue being changed from Mikinduri to Kinoru stadium in Meru town and finally to Nkubu.

The governor missed the occasion while his rivals basked in the limelight. He has also protested the arrest of seven of his supporters, including two county government officials, after campaign banners of his rival Kiraitu Murungi were vandalised in Meru town.

Illegal orders

“We are surprised by the quick arrests. When the billboards of our senatorial candidate Mugambi Imanyara were defaced last year, nobody was arrested,” said Munya.

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In Tharaka Nithi, Ragwa accused a deputy county commissioner of instructing chiefs to campaign for Jubilee candidates.

Meru County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga was not available for comment, but Tharaka Nithi’s Florence Amoit said she was not aware of Ragwa’s protest.

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