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Ruto bows to pressure, postpones UDA party elections amid reports of split

The decision was arrived at amid reports of a split in the party, characterised by chaos as politicians eyeing various party positions clash

File image of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, President William Ruto, UDA Chairperson Cecily Mbarire, UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala during the launch of the UDA offices at Nyeri County on September 9, 2023.

President William Ruto led United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party has postponed its grassroots elections.

The decision to postpone the elections was arrived at following a meeting held by the party's National Steering Committee.

A statement released by the party and signed by its Secretary-General Cleophas Malala revealed that the grassroots elections have been postponed from December 9, 2023 to be held in clusters with the polls spread across three days: April 12, 19th and 26th.

"We encourage all aspirants to continue with their registration, which will remain open until 6:00 pm on March 22, 2024." Read part of the statement.

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Internal wrangles characterized the campaigns with politicians eyeing various party leadership positions clashing.

Fights became a common occurrence as opposing politicians and their supporters clashed in public.

Wrangles in UDA and reports of split

A deep split was reported in the party with two rival factions emerging: One in favour of the planned elections (which have now been postponed) and a second in favour of postponement.

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Current party leadership was also accused of meddling in the polls with an aim of favoring particular candidates.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale filed a petition seeking to bar Malala from overseeing the polls, claiming that the UDA secretary General had appointed his associates to oversee the exercise.

According to the Senator, the exercise would not be fair and transparent if Malala oversees it.

Malala was also accused of frustrating affiliate parties from within by Kimilili Member of Parliament Didmus Barasa.

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Gachagua addresses claims of fallout with Ruto

Earlier on, reports of a split between the president and his deputy also surfaced.

Gachagua sought to clear the air after his boss appeared to rebuke him over the infamous “shareholder” remarks that have seen the duo read from different scripts sparking claims that all is not well.

The DP sought to clear the air at a church service in Nandi County, dismissing the reports and insisting that the country is in capable hands and all is well between him and his boss.

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“Our government led by William Ruto is steady and very stable, there is no problem and there will be none.

“The President and I are not foolish, we are great friends and even if you hear us talking differently, it is still the same thing,” Gachagua explained.

Despite the duo responding swiftly to assure Kenyans that they are reading from the same script, reports of two camps (one allied to the DP while the other allied to the President) continue to lurk in the background.

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