City governor race splits Jubilee bigwigs

Thursday, December 31st, 2020 11:37 |

Internal wrangles have emerged over the impending nomination of a candidate to fly the ruling Jubilee party flag in the upcoming Nairobi gubernatorial by-election, People Daily has established.

There are two camps fighting for the coveted ticket with one faction pushing for former Dagoretti South Member of Parliament Dennis Waweru and the other demanding the inclusion of former Gatanga lawmaker Peter Kenneth.

But because the period to present names of proposed candidates by political parties had lapsed, some Jubilee stalwarts are threatening to either keep off the campaigns should Waweru win the ticket, or back Agnes Kagure who is vying for the same ticket.

But a source privy to the controversy told People Daily that Kenneth declined to return his nomination papers.

“Kenneth was of the view that with only one and half years remaining to the end of the current term and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) having taken all the functions there was no need to vie,” said a Jubilee party top official.

A senator, who sought anonymity, termed Waweru as the “wrong choice” to carry the party flag. “We needed a strong candidate who can fight forces backing the Tanga Tanga candidate; Kenneth has been there before and understands the dynamics of Nairobi politics,” said the senator.

He said he had written to the party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, and was awaiting his response on the matter.

“I wrote to him (President) yesterday expressing members’ apprehension on the perceived candidate; I hope he gets to read it and respond accordingly,” said the senator from Mount Kenya region.

Plucked from political obscurity after losing his seat to John Kiarie, Waweru is said to have political goodwill as he seems to enjoy a close relationship with the Jubilee elite.

Waweru, who is the chairman of the Kenya Investment Authority, played a significant role together with Nominated MP Maina Kamanda in leading team Kieleweke, drumming up support for Imran Okoth during the Kibra campaigns last year.

Efforts to contact Kamanda, a key player in Nairobi politics, failed as his phone went unanswered. The intrigues came even as the race to succeed impeached city Governor Mike Sonko continued to gain momentum with intense lobbying and behind-the-scenes manoeuvring being used as part of strategies to find the next Nairobi chief executive.

Former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru is being mentioned as a possible Tanga Tanga candidate owing to her close ties with Deputy President William Ruto. Kagure, former Nairobi City Council Clerk Philip Kisia and former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo are also said to be interested in the coveted position.

Also on the list is Betty Adera, who seeks to vie through the Kenya African National Union . Adera, who launched her manifesto yesterday, said she was in close talks with the Jubilee Party to see how they could work together in the race to decide who goes for the governor’s position and deputy.

“My party is in talks with the Jubilee Party to see how we can enter the race as a joint force, then we will later decide who goes for which position between us,” said Adera.

Other politicians being mentioned are Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and Nickson Kiprotich. According to sources, there are those who think that, given the performance of NMS Director-General Mohamed Badi, a technocrat would be best-placed to head the capital city.

Some of the technocrats being considered are head of Presidency Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita, Infrastructure Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, former Nairobi County Secretary Peter Kariuki, as well as serving regional commanders and former military and administration bosses.

There have also been talks of Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka providing a candidate. There is no doubt that the March 9, 2018 Handshake between President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and the Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke politics will play a big role in the Sonko succession.

Another name According to sources, the ruling party will seek to defend the seat, with ODM persuaded to support the candidate in return for a running mate position.

This, according to a source privy to the discussions, will avoid upsetting the Handshake – Jubilee having supported ODM in Kibra and Msambweni by-elections by not fielding candidates. Wanjiru said she had already jumpstarted her campaigns, having put in motion her machinery in all parts of the county.

In the Handshake camp, the frontrunners are said to be burning the midnight oil reaching out to their think-tanks and other like-minded leaders as they seek to gain a head-start over their rivals. Another name that has been mentioned is that of political and governance commentator Steve Ogolla.

The 38-year-old lawyer has attracted interest even from Ruto’s Hustler camp as a result of his youthfulness and understanding of Nairobi politics.

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