By The Weekly Vision Team
The behind-the-scenes political war between President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua took a dramatic twist on Monday this week when the President saved UDA party officials in the Assembly from being ousted from leadership positions.
The deputy president and acting UDA party Secretary General Cleophas Malala had attempted to stamp their authority on the County Assembly by lobbying several MCAs to make the changes without the approval of the president, the UDA party leader. According to sources well versed in the happenings at the assembly, Gachagua and Malala’s reason to oust the assembly party leadership who are perceived to be allied to Governor Johnson Sakaja was because of their interest in vying for various party seats at the county level in the forthcoming UDA elections.
Those who have been keenly watching political events within UDA in Nairobi must have observed that there is no love lost between DP Gachagua and Governor Sakaja; the two do not see eye to eye. The two leaders have been at war ever since Sakaja was sworn in as the city’s CEO. Whereas Sakaja has already stamped his authority at City Hall, Gachagua believes that he should have a say on whatever administrative decision the governor makes at City Hall, especially the ones touching on business operations within the city. Earlier attempts by the DP to take control of City Hall through deputy governor Njoroge Muchiri seem to have failed, as Sakaja continues to sideline him, reducing him to a mere spectator at City Hall.
Sources at City Hall say the DP had lobbied and even facilitated the MCAs allied to him to oust the minority side’s leadership, who were perceived to be allied to Sakaja and replace them with his loyalists. However, the president’s quick action saved them. According to sources in the UDA, SG Malala, who is said to be secretly serving Gachagua’s interests in the party, was forced to eat humble pie and reinstate Sakaja’s perceived allies. Minutes after he had written a letter giving the green light to his team, he had authorized changes in the Minority Whip position, where South B MCA Waithera Chege had been appointed to take over from Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu, a close ally of the governor.
The Minority Whip’s position was to go to nominated MCA Joyce Muthoni, replacing Umoja 1 MCA Mark Mugambi. Previously, Waithera served as the deputy minority leader, while Muthoni served as the minority whip.
The governor is said to have reached out to the president to save the officials, some of whom had declared interest in running for the county’s top leadership in UDA. The president ordered SG Malala to revoke the letter he had written to the speaker, effecting changes to the minority side, to allow the matter to be democratically handled in line with the party’s constitution.
According to MCAs allied to Gachagua led by Waithera, they have accused Kiragu of totally failing to defend city residents, alleging that the team has only been pursuing their interests. They further accused them of being compromised and have failed to provide the oversight role.
It has also been whispered that the change of the party’s leadership in the assembly was part of the wider scheme to have Sakaja impeached and Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) brought back.
The Sakaja-allied MCAs have vowed to support him and protect him against any form of intimidation by the Gachagua-allied MCAs, warning that no impeachment against Sakaja will sail through. Nairobi County Assembly has 124 MCAs, of which 85 are elected members and 39 are nominated.
Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition is the majority, with the highest number of MCAS at 68, while Kenya Kwanza has 53 MCAs. There are three independent MCAs. The United Democratic Alliance has 35 elected MCAs, just like the Orange Democratic Movement party. Jubilee has seven; Wiper has four; Chama Cha Kazi (CCK) has one; and three are independent.