City Azimio losers give Uhuru, Raila 48-hour ultimatum

Azimio la Umoja Nairobi aspirants who lost at the primaries led by Mark Nganga (left), Muthoni Ouko (centre) and Wangui B. Ng'ang'a address journalists at Sagret Hotel, Nairobi on May 11, 2022.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

A major dispute is looming in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party in Nairobi, with aspirants who did not get tickets giving the outfit 48 hours to bring them to the table or face a mass walkout.

The disgruntled group, made up largely of Jubilee and ODM-leaning politicians, faulted Azimio’s decision not to hold primaries and to issue direct tickets using opinion polls.

Led by former Nairobi Education executive Janet Ouko and Nairobi woman representative aspirant Wangui Ng’ang’a, the faction has threatened to lead a mass walkout from Azimio if their concerns are not addressed by ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee.

Ms Ng’ang’a, a Jubilee member, said Azimio leaders running the party in the capital have sidelined them and are only driving their personal agenda instead of campaigning for the Azimio presidential candidate.

“Party loyalists have been elbowed out and certain leaders are being listened to. But the few leaders, instead of drumming up support for Baba, are doing their own campaigns and not even mentioning his name or having him on their posters,” said Ms Ng’ang’a.

She urged President Kenyatta to call a meeting with Jubilee members to put his house in order and avert a possible walkout from Azimio.

“We have been relegated to the periphery and even when Polycarp Igathe was chosen as our candidate, we have not been told his agenda and hence we don’t even know how to sell him to Nairobi residents,” she said.

Mass exodus

Nominated MCA June Ndegwa said President Kenyatta’s failure to listen to all the leaders and his choosing to work with only three MCAs has led to a mass exodus from the party.

“We have appealed to the President to listen to us but he abandoned us and decided to work with only a few people,” she said.

Ms Ouko, who was eyeing the Kasarani parliamentary seat, now held by Jubilee’s Mercy Gakuya, echoed Ms Ng’ang’a’s sentiments, saying the party has 48 hours to give them an ear or they would explore other options.

“No consensus was [reached] before giving out direct tickets. Jubilee called for a meeting but no deal was reached, then they promised to get back to us, only for us to see Gakuya displaying her ticket on our WhatsApp group,” said Ms Ouko.

“She has been given the Azimio ticket yet she cannot even dare sell Baba in her constituency. What is the business then of giving her the ticket if she cannot even mention Baba’s name during her campaigns?”

Hamza/Maringo MCA Mark Ndung’u, who was eyeing the Makadara parliamentary seat, said they will move to a political outfit where they are needed if Azimio does not want to listen to them.

“We will not allow leaders to be forced on us and if they do not listen to us within the 48 hours, then let us meet in August,” he said.

Mathare North MCA Jared Okode complained that after spending millions campaigning for the Ruaraka parliamentary seat, now held by TJ Kajwang, he was informed at the last minute that there would be no ODM nominations in the constituency.

“I would like to tell my party leader that he is being misled by those surrounding him and he will miss out. I appeal that you call for a meeting to put your house in order,” said Mr Okode.

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