Immediate former Kisii Governor James Ongwae has ditched the Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition for Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
Ongwae on Friday, September 9, 2022, led a delegation of leaders from Kisii and Nyamira counties to President-elect William Ruto’s Karen residence for what the group termed as “partnership” talks.
The leaders included immediate Kisii Woman Representative Janet Ong’era, ex-MPs Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Zepedeo Opere(Bonchari), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North), Manson Nyamweya (South Mugirango), Stephen Manoti(Bobasi) and Zadock Ogutu (Bomachoge Borabu).
Abagusii Council of Elders chairman John Matundura and former Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure were also present.
“We have had a fruitful meeting with the President-elect and told him that we are ready to work with him and support his government,” Ongwae told a local daily.
“As a community, we are ready to work with the President-elect,” he added.
Ongwae key ally of Raila Odinga
Ongwae and Ong’era were key allies of ODM party leader Raila Odinga, who took a leading role in the former prime minister’s presidential campaigns in the Kisii region in the just concluded elections. They join a growing list of politicians who have shifted allegiance to Ruto following his poll victory.
The leaders’ defection to Kenya Kwanza is a blow to Raila who has enjoyed overwhelming support in the Kisii region for decades.
The mass defections come days after Raila lost his bid to overturn Ruto’s election at the Supreme Court.
In a judgement read by Chief Justice Martha Koome on Monday, a seven-judge bench unanimously ruled that the presidential election was conducted in line with the country’s constitution.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati had, on August 15, 2022, declared that Ruto won the election with 7,176, 141 votes, which is 50.49% of the total votes cast against Raila’s 6, 942, 930 votes (48.85%).
The President-elect will be sworn in on Tuesday, September 13.