It’s Thursday, July 15… this is the day when over 95,000 voters of Kiambaa Constituency will be electing their member of parliament.
But in Kiambaa, it will not be your normal by-election. The mini poll has attracted more interest on national politics than local.
All politics is local
Did former U.S Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neil had Kiambaa in mind when he coined the famous phrase – “all politics is local”?
Political pundits have argued that in Kiambaa, it will either be a dirge for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party or a political birthday bash for his ‘nemesis’, Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA… and the vice versa is true.
Back to “all politics is local”… The principle, which has been proven and tested, encapsulates that a politician’s success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. That politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of the electorates. Those personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas, are often what voters care most about.
DP Ruto’s UDA vs Jubilee
The Kiambaa race has narrowed down to a two-horse race pitting Jubilee’s Karanja Kariri Njama and United Democratic Alliance’s (UDA) John Njuguna Wanjiku.
According to renown political analyst Prof. Peter Kagwanja, this race will determine the direction the Mt Kenya region will be taking in the 2022 presidential race. Prof. Kagwanja says that “Jubilee victory in Kiambaa is almost inevitable.”
President Uhuru’s party was humiliated in May this year during the Juja Parliamentary by-election, when Moses Kuria’s Peoples’ Empowerment Party candidate George Koimburi floored Jubilee’s Susan Waititu.
Prof. Kagwanja said that the Juja humiliation was a wake-up call, insisting the ruling party would not repeat the mistake.
A win for UDA today will send shockwaves in larger Mt Kenya, almost indicating that there is a paradigm shift and Ruto is the region’s man come 2022. Defeat for Jubilee in President Uhuru’s backyard of Kiambu County will signal the end of his political ‘kingpinship’.
Who will carry the day?