Pauline Waithira, the 70-year-old avocado seller who accompanied President William Ruto to the Bomas of Kenya last year, says she has been used and forgotten by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
Waithira, who is popularly known as ‘Mama Mboga’, was a guest speaker at a UDA event in Limuru in May 2022, where she praised Ruto’s bottom-up economic model that promised to empower the poor people.
She was then chosen by UDA as Ruto’s presidential nomination agent and was seen presenting him with a traditional ‘kiondo’ at the Bomas of Kenya when he submitted his papers to the IEBC for clearance to run for president.
However, Waithira says that since then, she has not received any benefits or recognition from UDA and that she feels betrayed by the party that used her to lure voters.
She says she was not invited to Ruto’s inauguration ceremony at Kasarani Stadium and that many politicians who promised her help do not pick her calls.
“I was used to illustrate how poor people will benefit from the Ruto government through bottom up but even after they won the presidential election, I was not even invited to Kasarani Stadium during the inauguration of President Ruto and his deputy. I spent the whole day crying at home, people were laughing at me,” she told a local media house on Thursday last week.
She adds: “I have come to realize this tactic was to get the poor people to vote for Ruto en masse in the hope that things would get better.”
Waithira says she has nothing to hide and that UDA used her to lie to her fellow poor people.
She says she is still struggling to make ends meet and that she has not seen any improvement in her life since UDA came to power.
She appeals to President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to remember her and fulfil their promises to the poor people.
“I still respect them as my leaders but I wish they would also respect me as their supporter. I did not ask for much, just some recognition and assistance. My hope is that they will not forget me and other poor people who voted for them,” she says.
Attempts to reach UDA officials for comment were unsuccessful by the time of going to press.
President Ruto and his deputy Gachagua have not publicly addressed the issue of ‘Mama Mboga’ or the plight of the poor people under their administration.