Jubilee, ODM may field joint candidate in race to replace Sonko

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the national launch of the BBI signature collection exercise at KICC in Nairobi County.

Photo credit: PSCU

President Kenyatta’s party, Jubilee, and Mr Raila Odinga’s ODM, are considering fielding a joint candidate for the February 18 Nairobi governorship mini-poll, even as they submitted names of their respective aspirants to the electoral commission.

On Monday, the parties submitted two names each to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of the aspirants cleared to contest their respective primaries.

Jubilee cleared former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, who is also the Building Bridges Initiative co-chairman, and Ms Agnes Kagure to vie for the seat left vacant following the impeachment of the ruling party’s Mike Sonko.

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju confirmed the two names had been submitted to the IEBC.

“We’ve cleared two candidates: Agnes Kagure and Dennis Waweru and submitted their names to the IEBC,” Mr Tuju said.

ODM National Elections Board (NEB) chairperson, Mrs Catherine Mumma, said the board had cleared ODM Women League president, Ms Beth Syengo, and former Homa Bay Governor candidate Mr Sam Wakiaga, to vie for the seat.

“We forwarded the names to the party to quickly decide whether we can get the candidates to agree between themselves,” she said.

Seat belongs to Jubilee

“That’s what we normally do so that they can have a consensus on who would go for it and if not, they are subjected to the primaries,” Mrs Mumma told Nation.

ODM national chairman John Mbadi confirmed the Jubilee-ODM deal, saying: “It’s true there are talks and we are likely to go to the polls jointly.”

He added: “The seat, however, belongs to Jubilee and so we will discuss with them and agree on the mode of working together.”

He said the party’s NEC through the Central Committee will decide whether to field a candidate or work with Jubilee.

Sources within the two parties told the Nation that there “are chances of Mr Waweru working with Syengo as his running mate.”

“Ms Syengo, being a female and from the Kamba community, which held the position, is a vital player in the race,” explained a source who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Mr Tuju told the Nation that nothing stops the two parties from working together since it has happened before, courtesy of the ‘handshake’ between the President and Mr Odinga.

The fate of the February 18 by election, however, still hangs in the balance following legal battles regarding Mr Sonko’s nomination of Anne Mwenda as deputy governor.

Should the High Court in Nairobi lift the orders blocking Ms Mwenda’s vetting, plans for the by-election might be scuttled as she may be vetted to take over as the governor.

Thirdway Alliance Party has also cleared firebrand the lawyer, Mr Miguna Miguna, for the race.

“Yes, it’s true. The march for Nairobi’s liberation is on. I strongly urge all compatriots to mobilise. Viva!” Miguna tweeted.

The right leader

Praising Miguna as a champion of justice, the party’s national chairman, Miruru Waweru, said the Nairobi by-election provided Kenyans a chance to choose the right leader.

“It’s therefore a great honour for Thirdway Alliance Kenya to unveil Dr Miguna Miguna as its candidate for this (Nairobi governor) by-election. Thirdway Alliance and Dr Miguna share a common belief that Nairobi, and indeed the Republic of Kenya, can no longer be entrusted in the hands of a corrosive cartel of plunderers and a criminal enterprise,” Mr Waweru said.

Thirdway Alliance secretary-general Frederick Okang’o told the Nation that, although not known by many, Miguna has been a party member since 2019 after he lost in the 2017 general election to Mr Sonko.

“We know that the candidate who will win this by election has only 15 months in office and Nairobi will need a very agile, straightforward and a person of integrity. A candidate who will be able to fix the issues of Nairobi. And Miguna just fits this description,” Mr Okang’o said.

But their announcement about Miguna’s candidature was quickly dismissed by Dr Ekuru Aukot, who is tussling for the party’s leadership with the other faction, who claimed his rivals “were only rent seekers.”

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu said he is also in the race after the electoral commission confirmed he is not a party member following his inquiry about his eligibility to contest as an Independent.

“I have been cleared by the registrar, and I know things are good. We went to the IEBC today to submit my papers. The deadline was today. I’m in the race, hopefully,” Mr Waititu said.

IEBC will later formally vet candidates and clear those eligible to run. It remains to be seen how Mr Waititu, who was impeached as Kiambu governor on corruption claims, hopes to clear this hurdle.

Ms Syengo said: “I want to restore sanity in Nairobi. My agenda is to make Nairobi great by restoring sanity and ensuring systems not working are working.”

“In consultation with NMS, I want to bring sanity in the transport sector and make sure there is order and security is improved,” she said.

 She went on: “My party leader H.E Raila Odinga is committed to peace and tranquility in this nation and committed to make sure the handshake works. Whatever him and his brother agree to do, I will support that.”

A professional

Mr Wakiaga said Nairobi needs a professional to run the Capital.

“I will solve service delivery issues that have affected Nairobi. I will create growth and allow investors to create more jobs for our people,” added Mr Wakiaga.

Bishop Margaret Wanjiru’s aide was yet to have her call back the Nation on her reported candidature as promised yesterday by the time of going to press.

On Monday, former Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero who came second after Mr Sonko in the 2017 General Election with 696,888 votes against Mr Sonko’s 871,794 told Nation that he will not be on the race for Nairobi as “my interests are elsewhere.”

“In the first place, I don’t think there is need for any election in Nairobi because there is no time for any leader elected to work for the people of Nairobi.”

“They should just confirm the lady - Anne Mwenda - whom Sonko appointed as his deputy since her case is waiting determination and subsequent vetting,” Mr Kidero said but added that he will rally behind the ODM candidate in case of a by-election.

“I am a member of ODM and in case of an election, I will support whoever the party nominates,” Dr Kidero said.

Other sources said Dr Kidero had set his sights on the Homa Bay seat in 2022.

Negotiations ongoing

Wiper vice-chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the party had not deliberated on the Nairobi race.

“We have not deliberated on it yet. However, it would be in our interest to focus on the Machakos senatorial seat and support a joint candidate in Nairobi,” he said.

Amani National Congress deputy leader Ayub Savula said in the spirit of the Nasa Coalition, they were negotiating on whether to support a joint candidate in Nairobi.

“In the spirit of Nasa as a Coalition, ODM should not field a candidate in Matungu and Kabuchai and back ANC in Matungu and Ford Kenya in Kabuchai so that we reciprocate in Nairobi. For Machakos senatorial position, we will back Wiper candidate,” Mr Savula said.


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