Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) has pulled out of the Machakos Senatorial by-election scheduled for Thursday, March 18.
In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the Machakos Governor said MCC candidate John Katuku had agreed to step down following a consultative meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In the virtual meeting yesterday, which was also attended by ODM, ANC, KANU, Ford Kenya, Narc and Wiper leaders, Mutua said the President urged friendly political parties in the region to find a peaceful, amicable and uniting way forward ahead of the Thursday by-election.
Mutua’s party will now back Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party candidate Agnes Kavindu, in a tactical move aimed at ensuring that the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party that is associated with Deputy President William Ruto doesn’t clinch the seat that fell vacant following the death of Senator Boniface kabaka in December last year.
UDA rebranded recently from the Party of Development and Reform (PDR) which is currently in a coalition with the governing Jubilee Party.
Kavindu, the ex-wife of UDA Chairman Johnson Muthama, also enjoys support from Raila Odinga’s ODM party.
She was a member of the Building Bridges Initiative Steering Committee that came up with the BBI Bill, a product of the handshake between the former Prime Minister and President Kenyatta.
“As MCC party that supports the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative, we believe that:
1) Unity is essential to fast track development and alleviate poverty. 2) We have to end the culture of divisive and winner takes it all politics,” said Mutua.
“Maendeleo Chap Chap Party supported the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and in the spirit of consistency, we support his development agenda & the political stability of the Nation.
“In this regard, so as to ensure that the National Unity Agenda succeeds & that detractors such as UDA, do not get an opportunity to roll back the achievements so far, we have decided the following: Maendeleo Chap Chap Party extends goodwill to the President, to Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga and other B.B.I partner by withdrawing it’s candidate from the forthcoming by-election.”
Mutua added that it’s MCC’s expectation that in the same spirit, “our partners will reciprocate our goodwill”.
However, Ruto’ allies claim that the governor, who has declared interest in running for the presidency in 2022, was forced into withdrawing from the Machakos by-election.
“Raila Niwachie coalition members have used state machinery to arm-twist,coerce&cajole Maendeleo Chapchap Party Leader to withdraw his candidate from the race. With EACC&DCI on standby,the Governor like many others had no choice. Interestingly Raila’s intervention came in handy, ” former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen wrote on Twitter.
Raila Niwachie coalition members have used state machinery to arm-twist,coerce&cajole Maendeleo Chapchap Party Leader to withdraw his candidate from the race. With EACC&DCI on standby,the Governor like many others had no choice. Interestingly Raila’s intervention came in handy
— KIPCHUMBA MURKOMEN, E.G.H (@kipmurkomen) March 16, 2021
UDA, which is touted as the vehicle that Ruto will use in the 2022 race to State House following the deep divisions in the ruling Jubilee party, fielded its first candidates in the March 4 by-elections as part of efforts to popularise its “hustler” ideology across the country ahead of the next year elections.
Out of the seven by-elections conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the party won Nakuru’s London Ward seat.
UDA’s Anthony Nzuki trounced Francis Njoroge of Jubilee after he garnered 1,707 votes against Njoroge’s 1,385.