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Kamba MPs who defected from Wiper party to Jubilee have been assigned each a brand new Prado to bolster President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaigns in the region.
Campaign merchandise including branded Jubilee T-Shirts, posters and banners worth Sh60 million have been availed to the MPs who recently won a protracted war with professionals from the region over who should lead the party campaigns.
According to Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao, the campaign vehicles and materials were donated by billionaire businessman Peter Muthoka, who is at the centre of efforts to mobilise support for the President in the region.
“We’ve also been given two trucks for use in road shows and more will be made available soon,” said Mr Munyao who exuded confidence they will deliver votes to the Jubilee basket.
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DECAMPED TO JUBILEE
Mr Muthoka, the chairman and CEO of Acceler Global Logistics company, made the donation to President Kenyatta at a ceremony at State House last week.
Mr Munyao, who is among Kamba MPs who decamped to Jubilee and has been vocal in defending President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, said other campaign financiers had promised more material support to candidates.
He said the branded vehicles were given to sitting MPs only to lay ground for intensified campaigns and that more support would be assigned to Jubilee parliamentary candidates in the coming weeks.
The elaborate campaign support to Wiper defectors is significant because they have been up in arms against a team of prominent professionals for running a parallel political structure that overshadows their role.
The campaign donation by Mr Muthoka is seen as a statement of endorsement for the MPs who felt upstaged by the professionals.
However, the MP also disclosed that the Jubilee teams rooting for Mr Kenyatta in Ukambani had settled their differences and had agreed to work together towards their common goal.
“We’ll actually be meeting with all professionals campaigning for the President in Machakos on Friday to agree on modalities of the Jubilee team work,” Mr Munyao told Sunday Nation in a telephone interview.
On the face of it, the bone of contention is the alleged confusion caused by parallel political campaigns in their respective constituencies and competition for access to the President.
But beneath the wrangling that saw President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto step in two weeks ago to quell the rift are other underlying issues surrounding the control of campaign resources.
The MPs complain that they have suffered “serious political backlash” since 2014 when they ditched Wiper party and, therefore, should not play second fiddle to any other grouping.
In an apparent reference to the Woni political lobby fronted by Kamba professionals, the Jubilee lawmakers said that as elected leaders they were the only group in touch with the grassroots.
Led by Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu, the MPs claim they also suffered the indignity of being labelled traitors, rebels and even de-whipped from parliamentary committees for their firm political stand in supporting the president.
“Who are these other people pretending to help the President at this late hour? Where were they when we were called all sorts of names including betrayers of the Kamba community?” posed Mr Mutambu.
Jubilee Party has identified prominent figures from the three counties of Kitui, Machakos and Makueni to bolster the campaigns by elected MPs and weaken the dominant Wiper party which most of them defected from.
The strategy involves getting respected high ranking professionals and prominent business leaders to rally behind President Kenyatta’s bid for second term in an attempt to enhance his vote numbers in the region that voted overwhelmingly for the opposition Cord in 2013.
The strategy is also seen as an attempt to politically weaken Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka because the entire team consists of his close allies who were instrumental in his 2007 presidential bid.
Some of the new faces have been paraded at public rallies by the President and his deputy during their numerous visits to Ukambani, a pointer to the prominent role they may be assigned in the Jubilee campaigns.
Besides Mr Muthoka other professionals include Health CS Cleopha Mailu, Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, principal secretaries Monica Juma Foreign Affairs), Mutua Kilaka (Treasury), Victor Kyalo (ICT) and Ezekiel Mutua of Films board among others.
Additional reporting: Wanjohi Githae