One of the fights to watch come the August 2017 elections is the bid for Nairobi’s top political seat.
So far, politicians who have expressed interest include Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru and former Gatanga MP, Peter Kenneth.
These contestants who have nothing but sweet dreams for the city in the sun, have not shied away from criticising the incumbent, Dr Evans Kidero, accusing him of among other things, entertaining corruption.
Jubilee vice chair, David Murathe, however has cautioned Kidero’s contenders not to repeat the 2013 mistake where they came in as a divided house and lost to ODM’s Kidero. He has warned them to be wary of the great influence the incumbent enjoys.
“Dr Kidero is a political heavyweight with the advantage of incumbency and deep pockets,” Murathe said in a telephone interview.
Could sibling rivalry inside Jubilee result into another loss?
Kenneth’s entry into the race has split Jubilee into two camps: United Republican Party (URP) wing, led by Senate Majority Leader, Prof Kithure Kindiki have developed a hostile attitude towards him.
Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, Rachel Wambui Shebesh, Embakasi North and Roysambu MPs James Gakuya and Waihenya Ndirangu are behind Kenneth’s bid.
“The official party position is that all candidates go through democratic, free and fair primaries. Of course we recommend consensus where all candidates are able to agree on who among them had the best chance to fly the JP flag to victory. But they should be awake to the fact that Kidero is no pushover but a political heavyweight. The aspirants should weigh who among them has the requisite financial and other resources to take on Kidero blow-for-blow,than using their resources and time tearing at each other.”
Murathe’s words echoed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advice to JP politicians eyeing the governor’s ticket. He said during his tour of Murang’a that: “They should look at 2013 or have they forgotten? We (JP) lost the seat because the candidates who were in our camp could not agree on fronting one of them. They ended up dividing the vote, granting the advantage to our opponents.”
In 2013, Kidero won by 692,490 votes against Jubilee’s Ferdinand Waititu’s 618,047 with only 74,000-vote gap between them.
The number of registered voters in Nairobi County has grown from 1,728,180 in 2013 to 1,832,291 by June 2016, according to figures from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).