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Jubilation time: Jubilee Party harvests big as mass defections rock DP Ruto’s party UDA across the country

BY FRED MAKANA

The Jubilee Party has sent shockwaves across the political divide over the last two weeks as it continues to receive several political heavyweights across the country making and Mt Kenya region giving UDA a run for its money.

For a party that had been declared dead by its rivals, the resurgence of Jubilee has led to a near stampede at its headquarters in Nairobi where it is receiving hundreds of defectors daily – mainly from its key rival DP Ruto’s UDA.

As result, the party now appears energized and ready to battle it out with its main arch-rival United Democratic Alliance (UDA) which has been bragging of numbers ahead of the August 9 general elections.

Jubilee Party has attracted political heavyweights who were initially seen to be tilting towards its rival which according to political commentators is a clever move aimed at winning many seats since it is not fronting a presidential candidate in this year’s election.

Leading the cue is the immediate UDA national treasurer James Omingo Magara who on Monday was received by Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni at the party headquarters in Pangani.

Magara said he quit after considerable reflection and consultation with his people of Kisii County.

“My political future and ambitions cannot be sufficiently addressed by the UDA party. I therefore immediately resign as a party member and as a treasurer,” Omingo announced on February 28 upon quitting the party.

Early Monday Kioni received and welcomed into the party former permanent secretary Richard Lesiyampe who led a delegation from Samburu County. Lesiyampe is seeking a Jubilee nomination for the Samburu governor’s seat.

“Jubilee Party is a home to everyone seeking to unite in diversity of cultures and belief to achieve greatness,” Kioni said after hosting the various delegations.

Contrary to speculations doing rounds in the social media, Muranga Women Rep Sabina Chege also on Monday reaffirmed her commitment in the party as she seeks to defend her seat. She was accompanied by former Kigumo MP Jamlek Kamau who is also seeking to replace Governor Mwangi Wa Iria as the county’s second governor.

Ms Chege and Mr Kamau were accompanied by Muranga MPs Ngugi Nduati (Gatanga), Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Kamau Kimari (Mathioya), former Senator Kembi Gitura, aspiring women rep Waithira Muithirania and a host of asprants for the Muranga county assembly seats. They all reaffirmed their commitment to deliver various seats to the Jubilee Party.

“I am in the Jubilee Party forever. I will never abandon President Uhuru Kenyatta for other people who will be in opposition. The President has shown us the way and it is Baba all the way to the statehouse,” she said.

Nairobi Governor aspirant Agnes Kagure who is seeking the party’s ticket on Sunday pledged to amass more defectors to the party.

“In this week I am looking forward to leading more defectors from all corners of Nairobi back to where we all belong. A strong Jubilee is a strong Azimio and is an assurance of a better future for all,” Kagure said.

On Sunday DP Ruto suffered yet another blow after 50 UDA party coordinators from Kirinyaga County defected to Jubilee that morning.

The Kirinyaga coordinators were welcomed to the ruling Jubilee party by Interior PS Karanja Kibicho.

The function was held in Kagio, Kirinyaga county. The group of defectors was led by former Kirinyaga senator Daniel Karaba.

The leaders said they ditched the UDA party because it lacks direction.

“It is clear Central is a jubilee stronghold, Nyanza is for ODM and Western is ANC, Eastern is Wiper, as the mountain, we have Jubilee. We are going to hit the ground and campaign for our party,” Karaba said.

Then in the course of the week former Rongo MP joined the list of new Jubilee stalwarts who are set fly the party’s flag in the Migori gubernatorial race.

The party continued to reap big after six politicians announced defections to the party on Friday, in what insiders described as a big win for Raila Odinga’s Azimio campaigns for the presidency.

They included Sirisia Member of Parliament John Waluke, former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau and three legislators from Turkana.

The leaders from Turkana are Joyce Emanikor, Lokiru and Lomenen who moved from DP Ruto’s United UDA to Jubilee.

The three were received by Jubilee Party Director of Elections Kanini Kega.

“This is a big win for our party and the candidature of Raila Odinga,” Kega said, “ours is a democratic party that is ready to accommodate all”

In Western Kenya, the Sirisia MP Waluke said he felt under-valued in UDA after the entry of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula.

Waluke was elected on a Jubilee ticket but he was among members of parliament from western Kenya who had openly shown support for Ruto.

“Waluke is a Jubilee Party member and in fact he has already paid his fees,” said Jeremiah Kioni, Jubilee party’s Secretary-General.

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