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How DP Ruto was duped in Kibra by-election

Deputy President William Ruto joins worshippers in song during a Sunday mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Baricho, Kirinyaga. Photo/DPPS/Charles Kimani

Deputy President William Ruto’s sustained fury on the outcome of the Kibra by-election on November 7, where he heavily invested, was partly as a result of him being duped by people he had tasked with moblisation.

Multiple interviews revealed that blatant lies by his allies, said to have stage-managed Jubilee candidate MaCdonald Mariga’s popularity by ferrying crowds from outside the constituency, contributed the humiliating defeat.

A Jubilee insider told People Daily that the DP hosted over 27 delegations of various groups and communities at his residence which had been turned into a command centre for the poll.

The DP also waged an aggressive campaign against ODM’s Imran Okoth, having held rallies and Lindi and DC grounds.

Here, politicians tasked to mobilise supporters for the Karen meetings are said to duped the DP by ferrying people from outside Kibra, mainly Lang’ata and Dagoretti South.

Lang’ata is represented by Nixon Korir who was the party chief campaigner in the contest.

Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie denied claims that he and Korir ferried outsiders the meetings and huge rallies addressed by the DP.

A delegate from the Abagusii community who attended one of the meetings said they not only enjoyed sumptuous food ordered from a city hotel but received cash.

“The DP’s home was a hotel where people enjoyed good food and each delegate received at least Sh5,000.”

We could not put a finger on the amount of money the DP spent but politicians in his camp acknowledged that the Jubilee campaign was “readily resourced.”

But according to the delegate, mobilisers earned Sh10, 000 each while heads of delegation, mostly senior politicians received Sh100,000. 

The DP hosted a delegation from the Nubi, Kisii, Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba and Somali communities among other interested groups including women and youth who promised him votes. 

MP Kiarie who was a key campaigner for the Jubilee candidate acknowledged that their campaign was “readily resourced” but insisted that their opponents also spent a fortune in the contest.

We went to the by-election readily resourced and there is nothing wrong with that because it was a contest,” he said.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati who Ruto’s allies accuse of instigating violence during the polls said that ODM planted moles in the delegations to learn the Jubilee campaign strategy.  

“We sent our people there to investigate their game plan and to eat. They ate but their heads didn’t eat,” said Arati who has denied the violence claims.

In his strategy, Ruto is said to have banked on Kikuyu vote and Luyhas who constitute a significant chunk of voters in the constituency.

Kiarie, his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung’wa and Starehe’s Charles Njagua were dispatched to Woodley Ward which dominated by  Kikuyu to rally them behind Ruto’s candidate.

To the DP’s disappointment, majority of voters in the ward voted for Imran. 

The DP was reportedly unhappy with the Ichung’wa group for failing to deliver despite his facilitation.

Ruto is equally said to be annoyed with nominated MP Maina Kamanda and former Dagoretti legislator Denis Waweru for scuttling his efforts to woo the Kikuyu vote. 

Kamau Mweha an ODM operative who had also been tasked to pitch tent at Woodley and seduce the Kikuyu vote said most of the people Ruto addressed in Lindi and DC grounds were outsiders.  

“Ruto spent a lot of money in the campaign but his people cheated him by ferrying multitudes from Dagoretti South and Lang’ata giving an impression that his candidate had a lot of backing,” Mweha said.

Mweha said the DP hoped to use the Kibra vote to undermine the BBI and reinvigorate his presidential campaign describing the loss as a “bad omen.

“Had Ruto won, both Uhuru and Raila and their BBI initiative which he has been fighting would have been buried immediately the results were announced,” Mweha said.

But Kiarie described the people ferrying claims as a fallacy.Defending the loss, the Dagoretti South MP said garnering over 10,000 votes in Raila’s turf was an indication that Jubileee was gaining support in area. 

“We did not have anything to lose since the predecessor was not a Jubilee member. If we compare the percentage of 2017 and 2019, and considering that our candidate was greenhorn, it’s clear there was an improvement of performance on the side of Jubilee,” he said.

But Arati said that the DP was furious because he had lost hundreds of millions which he had invested in the Kibra race.

“Ruto expected to use the old Kanu-style tactics of intimidation to win. He had indicated to the Jubilee people that he will win at all costs but we were vigilant.” 

The MP also claimed that the huge crowds that Ruto addressed were not from the slum constituency.

“We were dealing with real Kibra voters. The people who visited the DP’s Karen residence and his rallies were ferried from Dagoretti South and Lang’ata,” said Arati. 

He said the DP was confident of a win because of the many delegations he hosted and huge crowds little knowing that they were outsiders motivated by handouts.

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