Plans afoot to field Handshake candidate in Nairobi mini poll

Thursday, December 24th, 2020 00:00 |
Nominated MP Maina Kamanda.

Politicians associated with President  Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga are working on a formula that will enable the Handshake coalition field a single candidate in the by-election for Nairobi governor’s seat slated for February 18.

Parties are in a rush to meet the Monday December 28 deadline for them to submit names of the persons contesting in party primaries and the dates of the nominations.

These effectively means party strategists will burn the midnight oil during the Christmas festivities to identify the candidates to face off for the seat that fell vacant following the impeachment of Mike Sonko last week.

“We are currently negotiating an arrangement that will see the President’s Jubilee party produce the  governor while Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement will provide the running mate to form a Handshake/BBI candidate,”  revealed Nominated MP Maina Kamanda.

Hustler nation

The MP who is a strong supporter of the Building Buildings Initiative, is a veteran power broker in Nairobi politics and ally of both Uhuru and Raila.      

And there are strong indications that the battle will be between Handshake brigade and Deputy President William Ruto’s  Tanga Tanga squad that is currently basking in the Msambweni by-election victory.

 Speaking to People Daily yesterday, former Housing Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru was categorical that she would be the candidate of the Ruto camp.

“I will be in the race for the seat because I am a Nairobian and I have been a leader in various capacities.

I will be the candidate of the Hustler Nation, which understands problems at the grassroots,” said the bishop, a former Starehe MP.

‘My major priority will be to reduce the poverty levels in Nairobi. The hustler nation takes a bottom-up approach and that is what Nairobi needs. We are for God, with God and the People,” she said.

Former Dagoretti South MP Denis Waweru has already expressed interest to be the Uhuru-Raila candidate while some forces are pushing for former Nairobi town clerk Philip Kisia.

The seat fell vacant following the impeachment of Mike Sonko  who was found guilty of misconduct by the Senate.

Nairobi county Speaker Benson Mutura has been sworn in as governor in an acting capacity as its residents prepare for the polls.


In a Gazette Notice on Tuesday night, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati directed political parties intending to participate in the by-election to submit candidates for their primaries by next week.

The electoral agency said that the campaign period will run between January 18, 2021 and February 15, 2021.

Chebukati, however, gave a seven-day window period for any public officer who intends to contest in the by-election to resign.

“Following the declaration of vacancy that occurred in the office of the county governor Nairobi City County, following the impeachment and subsequently the swearing in of the Speaker of the County Assembly of Nairobi as the acting County Governor on December 21, 2020 there shall be a by-election for the County Governor of Nairobi County on Thursday, February 18, 2021,” read the gazette notice dated December 21, 2020.

The electoral agency said that political parties intending to present candidates in the mini-poll will have up to January 11, 2021 to submit the list of the nominees after resolving all intra-party disputes arising from the primaries.

The same deadline will also apply to political parties intending to opt for the direct nomination of their candidates.

“The Commission shall publish the names of the persons contesting in a party primary and the date of the party primary within seven days of receipt of the names,” said  Chebukati.

Those intending to run as independent candidates must not have been members of any political party at least three months before the date of the by-election.

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