Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Thursday, 02 Mar 2017 15:57 EAT
Former cabinet minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere today officially switched to the Wiper Party just less than one month after he had joined ODM after resigning from his post as Kenya’s Ambassador to Tanzania as he gears up for Kwale gubernatorial seat. Mr Mwakwere has been flirting with ODM for some time now before he decided to join Wiper, which is in the same opposition coalition, National Super Alliance (NASA), with ODM.
He was received at Wiper House by party leader and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who was flanked by party secretary general and Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, and deputy party leader Farah Maalim among others. Mr Mwakwere who in 2013 contested for Kwale County’s senatorial seat on a Jubilee ticket and lost to ODM's Boy Juma Boy who died recently, said that he will be vying for the gubernatorial seat which is currently held by Governor Salim Mvurya.
At his defection today, Mr Mwakwere was flanked by a big delegation from the county who included his running mate and former Kenya Airports Authority managing director Simon Mkalla. He said he joined the party because he found it the most suitable. Asked why he has ditched Orange Democratic Movement, he said that his decision to join Wiper will help him to sail through come August 8th general elections.
This website reported Mr Mwakwere's defection to ODM more than two months before it was formally announced, and in December, we reported of opposition to him from ODM members in Kwale County. This afternoon, a source in the former minister's camp intimated to this website that Mr Mwakwere was apprehensive over ODM's nominations, fearing that he could be rigged out and locked out of the race at the last minute.
By contrast, Mr Musyoka hinted at the press conference today that Mr Mwakwere will get a direct ticket in the party nominations, following the fact that there is no candidate who will compete with him, giving the former minister a direct opportunity to the ballot.
With ODM still expected to nominate a candidate, Mr Mwakwere's defection raises the prospects for a three-way race in Kwale, which would strengthen the hands of incumbent governor Salim Mvurya of the Jubilee Party. Mr Mvurya, who defected from ODM in September, is credited with several developmental achievements and is the front-runner for the race, beset only by his unpopular party.
Mr Mwakwere blasted the Jubilee administration for failing to honour their promises and engaging in corruption tendencies which has rocked the government, as some of the reasons that prompted him to join the opposition. “I was in URP (United Republican Party) and now I have joined Wiper Party because it is the most suitable. Jubilee’s leadership has been full of corruption,” he said.
Mr Mwakwere is not the only leader from the Coast who has since ditched Jubilee. Nominated Senator Emma Mbura also decamped to Machakos Governor Mutua’s Maaendeleo Chap Chap citing frustration. Mr Mwakwere is expected to bring the Kwale vote to NASA, after Governor Salim Mvurya crossed over to Jubilee from ODM.
Mr Musyoka received another gubernatorial defector, Mr Kathee wa Kathee from Tharaka Nithi, who will use the new outfit to contest for the county’s governor seat after ditching ruling Jubilee Party.