Samuel Ragwa, 13 others quit Jubilee for Karua's Narc-Kenya

Friday February 17 2017

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua (second left)

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua (second left) when she received Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa (in suit) and other leaders on February 17, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

By DENNIS ODUNGA
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By ALEX NJERU
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Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa, his deputy Eliud Muriithi and 12 members of the county assembly have decamped from Jubilee to Narc-Kenya.

The leaders said they quit President Kenyatta’s party because there were clear indications that Jubilee nominations would not be free and fair.

14 DEFECTORS

"We will defend our seats through Narc-Kenya because there is no transparency in Jubilee," Mr Ragwa said during a press conference at Narc-Kenya headquarters in Nairobi.

He said he had realised that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party was not genuine and was meant to help him and his close friends.

“This is a party of a few people and I cannot waste any more time in a place where I can’t see light ahead,” said Mr Ragwa.

He said they went to Bomas of Kenya and declared that, for nominations to be free and fair, the electoral commission should conduct them but were surprised to learn that it was not going to be the case.

SECRET MEETINGS

“There are a few people holding secret meetings and deciding how JP should be ran without informing the rest,” he said in a phone conversation with the Nation after the reception.

He added that the JP nomination cards were being issued discriminatively and some aspirants were recruiting members with fake cards manufactured in Nairobi.

Mr Ragwa noted that his rivals, Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki and former Nithi MP Petkay Miriti, were the key people in JP's operations and he was not satisfied with it.

He said Prof Kindiki, Chuka/Igambangombe MP Muthomi Njuki and Mr Miriti were intimidating the rest of the members in the county and also trying to convince locals that they are the candidates Mr Kenyatta prefers.

RAGWA THREAT

The governor maintained that he supports Mr Kenyatta’s re-election but warned that if the President endorses any person, he will lobby locals to vote against him.

“I am supporting Mr Kenyatta for re-election, but I will ditch him if he happens to endorse any of my rivals,” he said.

He, however, maintained that he does not fear anyone and is ready to battle it out with any candidate who is given the Jubilee ticket and he is sure he will win with a landslide.

Mwimbi ward MCA Laban Karani, one of the twelve ward reps who defected, said they would make sure that Jubilee does not win any seat in the August 8 elections except the presidency.

He also said they were set to convert Tharaka-Nithi County into a Narc-Kenya stronghold.

14 DEFECTORS

Two aspirants have been left to battle it out for the Jubilee Party (JP) ticket - Mr Njuki and Mr Miriti.

On Thursday three aspirants - Mr Kiambi Kiriiro (Senate), Chuka/ Igambangombe MP aspirant John Mbabu and Tabitha Mbungu (woman representative) and 25 aspiring MCAs left JP for Maendeleo Chap Chap.

Dr Muriithi said Jubilee was not willing to let the IEBC conduct its party primaries, a move they feared would expose the exercise to fraud.

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua welcomed the 14 defectors, saying the party is supporting President Kenyatta's re-election but would field candidates for other elective seat.

Ms Karua plans to run for Kirinyaga governor on her party’s ticket.

MACHAGE

The Tharaka-Nithi leaders expressed confidence that they would recapture their seats.

Aspirants for various seats in Jubilee who have sensed that they might miss the party's ticket are seeking shelter in Jubilee-friendly parties such as Narc-Kenya, Maendeleo Chap Chap, the Party of National Unity and the Democratic Party.

The defection of Tharaka-Nithi leaders came hours after Migori Senator Wilfred Machage bid bye to the Orange Democratic Movement and said “hi” to the Democratic Party.

Other high-profile defections from Jubilee include Ali Chirau Mwakwere and Sam Ongeri, who joined ODM.

The Orange party, on the other hand, lost Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and a host of MPs in Coast the region to President Kenyatta’s party.