Sibling rivalry to blame for Azimio' Nakuru East loss

Nakuru East MP David Gikaria

Nakuru East MP David Gikaria. He was re-elected for a third term in the August 9 elections, beating 14 other contestants  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Sibling rivalry among the Jubilee Party, ODM, Kanu and Ubuntu People’s Forum cost Azimio la Umoja One Kenya the Nakuru East parliamentary seat.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced incumbent MP David Gikaria, who vied under UDA the winner with 30,810 votes, against his closest rival Joel Kairu (Jubilee) with 25,965.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Gikaria, who was seeking a third term, said: “There is a winner and loser in every election. Let’s now get to work.”

Achilles heel

Political pundits say rivalry within Azimio was the outfit’s Achilles heel.

Mr Samuel Okello (ODM) got 3,535 votes, Karuga Grace (Kanu) had 858, while Maina Kariuki (UPF) and Benson Mwangi (Independent) garnered 299 and 4,696 votes, respectively. Mr Mwangi vied as an independent after falling out with Jubilee.

Analysts say that had Mr Kairu, Mr Mwangi, Mr Okello, Ms Karuga and Mr Kariuki joined hands, Azimio could have bagged the seat with about 40,000 votes.

“The sibling rivalry was Azimio’s major undoing, leading to its failure to bag the parliamentary seat. Had the candidates joined hands, Azimio would have comfortably won,” Mr Steve Kabita, a lawyer and political analyst said.

“The rivalry ended up denying Azimio victory and spoiling the party in the largely cosmopolitan constituency as all the candidates divided votes and allowed their opponent flying the UDA flag to win,” he added.

There were a total of 15 candidates for the leadership of the constituency, which was carved out of Nakuru Town Constituency ahead of the 2013 elections. The Other candidates were Rono Denis (Usawa), Adan Ismail (UDM), Wainaina Julius, Kinyua Joseph, Muthee Charles, Mwithaga Anthony and Douglas Njoroge.

Affiliate parties

An attempt by Azimio to subject candidates from affiliate parties to vetting and settle on one ahead of Tuesday’s elections ran into headwinds.

The candidates failed to agree even after the coalition’s leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga intervened.

The seat was the most hotly contested in Nakuru as the 14 sought to unseat Mr Gikaria.

With Nakuru designated a city last December, the stakes were high as each of the candidates sought to control the constituency, expected to reap benefits from the status.

Years of lobbying

On December 1, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded a city charter to the Nakuru municipality after years of lobbying. With that, residents are set to enjoy improved services.

Mr Daniel Kimani, a governance expert, said Nakuru will now get more funding from the national government and development partners, including global bodies like the World Bank and the United Nations. “The funding will promote development, mainly in the city’s two constituencies, Nakuru East and Nakuru West,” he added.

It’s this expected boon that fuelled the battle for the constituency.

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