Divisions emerge in Azimio over Nairobi gubernatorial race

Dennis Waweru

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris and Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi,

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Two factions have emerged in the battle for Nairobi County positions threatening to divide President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s camps.

The President and Mr Odinga are working together courtesy of their March 9 2018 political truce.

Through their Azimio la Umoja Movement, the two are working on an arrangement to field joint candidates in various counties including Nairobi.

But already there are signs of rivalry, particularly in Nairobi where two factions have emerged. The race to the city’s top seat has also attracted Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss Richard Ngatia and businesswoman Agnes Kagure.

On Sunday, one faction including ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris and former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru took to Githurai New Hope Christian mission church to drum up support for their political aspirations.

Mobilise people

Mr Sifuna appeared to hint at divisions in the Nairobi Azimio train, as he distanced himself from the other faction which has National Chamber of Commerce President Richard Ngatia for Governor, nominated MP Maina Kamanda for senator and nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka who is eying the Woman representative post.

“The other faction is using my pictures to mobilise people for rallies, but I can confirm that posters going around that we will be attending some rallies are fake. We are not attending those rallies,” Mr Sifuna said in reference to the rally by Mr Ngatia’s faction in Ziwani, Nairobi.

Speaking at the service, Mr Sifuna urged Kenyans to ensure that leaders who go to them seeking votes have integrity, are competent and suitable to lead, adding that any aspiring leader tainted with court cases and allegations of corruption will not be given tickets to run with ODM party.

Personal integrity

“I want to assure you that this is the Nairobi Azimio team. This is the cleanest team. We have personal integrity, we’re competent and suitable. Other leaders from our competitors have questionable pasts,” he told congregants.

Mr Wanyonyi assured Nairobians that he is the face of genuine and true leadership that will transform the capital city.

 “We are here as Christians and Kenya’s, and we have a vision for this country. In this election, we are going to elect a governor of Nairobi because Nairobi has been running without one.  We will transform Nairobi, and hand it back to you because you deserve the best. We want the youth to thrive, we want women and mothers to run successful businesses, and we want security for the nation,” he said.

Maina Kamanda

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka and National Chamber of Commerce President Richard Ngatia.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

He also defended President Kenyatta against accusations that he (the president) is backing Mr Odinga’s presidential bid, adding that the only thing the president owes Kenyans is a smooth transition of power.

“To do that, the president must ensure that Kenyans know who to vote for. After all, he knows who is best suited to take over from him,” he added.

Mr Wanyonyi has shown interest in running for the position of Governor of Nairobi.

Other aspirants are; former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru of Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), businesswoman Agnes Kagure of Jubilee and Governor Anne Kananu.

While honouring her father who passed away recently, Ms Passaris said she is coming out of mourning to do politics because of love for a country. She is seeking to defend her Woman Representative seat on an ODM ticket.

During the church function, Mr Waweru asked the congregation to endorse his association with the second-time Westlands MP, raising eyebrows as to whether he will be Wanyonyi’s running mate or vice versa in the gubernatorial race.

“When the people from western and central Kenya unite, great things happen…Tim Wanyonyi and myself are united, should we continue like that we will go far,” he posed.

He also echoed Sifuna’s sentiments, asking the congregants to desist from voting for corrupt leaders. Leaders with integrity issues, he said, should not be allowed near the county’s leadership due to its critical position in Kenya’s politics.

“Wanyonyi and I will come back and help this church. Just pray for us so we get God’s favour so that Nairobi people can accept us and so that we can sort out Nairobi issues,” he added.

Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu on the other hand took her hunt for votes for Nairobi’s gubernatorial seat to Kariokor where she warned residents not to vote in leaders with questionable characters.

The City Hall boss said Nairobi has no space for leaders with a tainted past.

The 42-year-old observed the capital city can only prosper if the electorates elect leaders with proven track record. The governor notified corrupt leaders that Nairobi voters will never again be taken for a ride as they are now wiser.

“We are wiser now, let us not join the thieves. We want leaders who will make sure our children go to school and residents have their development needs sorted out,” said Ms Kananu.

“There are those who think Nairobi has money and they will come to swindle it. There is no money here to be used for personal gain. That money is meant for development activities,” she added.

Ms Kananu accompanied by a host of Nairobi MCAs said she was in the race to the end and will not back down. The governor said the county government will only be safe in the hands of a woman.

 “Let us not join the thieves and men we have tried with the leadership of the county but have failed. It is now time for a woman and that woman is me. I have been tried and tested,” she said.

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