NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – The Wiper Democratic Movement has downplayed the impact Kethi Kilonzo’s withdrawal from the Makueni Senate race will have on their chances of winning the July 22 by-election.
Speaking to Capital FM News following Kethi’s decision not to contest, Wiper Chairman David Musila said; “I can assure you Wiper will have a credible candidate come June 26.”
Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama had told Capital FM News on Monday that Wiper was considering replacing Kethi as its candidate in order to avoid a family feud on account of Kethi’s step-mother Nduku Kilonzo joining the race.
“If it is indeed true that (President) Uhuru (Kenyatta) and (Cabinet Secretary Charity) Ngilu have endorsed Nduku, we may be forced to field another candidate because we value family and want them to remain united in the face of their grief,” he said.
Muthama’s disclosure was followed by Kethi’s announcement on Tuesday that she had withdrawn from the race tweeting: “A child does not compete with the mother. It is a curse.”
It was the first time she had come out openly on her desire to defend her late father’s seat.
Kethi did however make it clear that she would not support Nduku’s bid if it is on a Jubilee ticket, “I will not support Jubilee. To stand with my father’s enemies is a worse curse.”
Kethi’s sentiments might be explained by the fact that her late father, Mutula Kilonzo, was the Wiper Secretary General and won the Makueni Senate seat on the very same ticket.
Kethi tweeted: A child does not compete with the mother. It is a curse.
Even given Kethi’s decision to step down in her favour, Nduku’s political ambitions may not come to fruition as NARC party leader Kiema Kilonzo has said she will not vie on their party ticket.
It had been thought Nduku would be the NARC candidate and by extension the Jubilee ticket bearer after she was seen in the company of NARC party founder Charity Ngilu on Sunday.
Makueni residents themselves expressed their displeasure at the idea of Nduku inheriting her late husband’s political office by carrying out demonstrations on Monday.
The residents said they wanted Kethi to take over from her father given what they saw of her performance before the Supreme Court during the presidential petition.
Ngilu has come under criticism for her perceived association with Nduku ahead of the July 22 by-election given as a Cabinet Secretary, she, “shall not indicate support for or opposition to any political party or candidate in an election,” according to Section 16 (b) of the Public Officer Ethics Act.
On May 28 Wiper told Capital FM News that it would not conduct primaries in preparation for the Makueni by-election but would instead select its ticket bearer through interviews.