Makueni Senate Race:Nduku Kilonzo opts out of Makueni senate race, backs Kethi Kilonzo

diana-mumNduku Kilonzo will not be running for the vacant Makueni Senate seat after all, The Standard can now reveal.

“I had a meeting on Monday night with members of my family including my children, brothers, sisters and close friends. They have advised me that this is not the right time and I am still mourning the loss of my husband. There will be another time,” she said on Tuesday.

What is more, she will throw her full support behind her step-daughter, Kethi Kilonzo, should she decide to jump back into the race for the seat.

“I will throw my support behind Kethi should she decide to run. I will fully support her.”

Kethi’s decision

Last night, it was still unclear if Kethi would reconsider her decision and get back in the race in the light of her stepmother’s decision to step aside. Efforts to reach her were fruitless and close friends confided to The Standard that she was probably keeping a low profile due to the publicity generated by the senate race.

Nduku told The Standard yesterday that she had jumped into the race after confirming with her step-daughter that she was not running.

The stunning development brings to an end the possible remarkable match-up for the Makueni by-election scheduled for July 22 that would have pitted step-mother versus step-daughter. The by-election is being held in the same month that the late Mutula was born. He was born on July 2.

That was an additional reason for Nduku to pull out: “I have withdrawn from the race. It’s hard to run in the election in the same month that I am celebrating my late husband’s birthday. My role now is to hold my family together and run my late husband’s businesses, including his ranch.”

Mutula died on April 27 while on a weekend away at his 1,500-acre Kwa Kyelu ranch after falling ill. He was laid to rest on May 9 and a pathology report on the cause of his death is yet to be made public.

Nduku attended a church service last Sunday at our Lady of Lourdes in Machakos town in the company of Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu where she made the announcement. President Uhuru Kenyatta also attended the memorial service for the late Bishop Urbanus Kioko.

Yesterday, Nduku was emphatic: “I am not in the race. I have withdrawn.”

So why did she announce to the media on Sunday that she was running? “I was put under pressure especially by the media. They followed me to my car pressing me for an answer.” The presence of Ms Ngilu next to her did not help either. It was her voice that was overheard in the television interview between journalists and Nduku prompting her to answer “yes” to whether she was a candidate for the seat.

“The media has blown this issue out of proportion and written some nasty things about my family. The Mutula family is united,” she declared.

On why she was at the Sunday memorial service if her intention was not to announce her candidature, she responded: “There was no prior arrangement for me to announce that I was running on Sunday. I was invited to attend the service, that was it.”

Detailing the chronology of events that led to her dramatic albeit reluctant announcement last Sunday, Nduku said she has met with her step-daughter, Kethi, several times.

“In all the conversations I have had with her, including text messages, she has told me she is not running.”

Kethi has never publicly declared she is running. Speculation has been rife that she is under pressure by CORD leaders to run for the seat previously held by her father. Friends who are close to her intimate that she is more cut out as a lawyer than a politician.

“She would prefer to run her father’s law firm as opposed to running for the senate seat. She really enjoys being a lawyer,” says one very close friend.

Last Thursday, Nduku went to the Kilonzo and Company Advocates offices along Ngong Road and met Kethi. She needed her to sign some documents.  In a face-to-face meeting, Kethi maintained she was not running. “I pressed her to tell me whether she was running or not. The media was reporting that she was running and she told me she was not.”

-The Standard



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