Sakaja, Abdulswamad Nassir: Nairobi, Mombasa Governor race ours to lose

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir who are eyeing Nairobi and Mombasa governor seats respectively.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media HGroup

The two front runners in Nairobi and Mombasa gubernatorial races have downplayed the threat of their fiercest opponents saying that their eyes are glued on the county's top seats.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir eyeing  Nairobi and Mombasa governor seats respectively have exuded confidence that the August 9 elections is theirs to lose.

According to Mr Sakaja, who is vying on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Kenya Kwanza Alliance and will be battling it out with Polycarp Igathe of Jubilee in Azimio La Umoja, people in Nairobi know who has been with them through out hence he is not bothered with the competition.

"I am not worried about him (Mr Igathe), why should I be worried about him? Nairobians have a choice to make and I think they will make a choice between the candidates. I love discussing ideas, I don't discuss individuals. Nairobians know both of us, they know who has been there , who has been resilient. For me, it is to offer my candidature  and my vision for the city. City of order and dignity," said Senator Sakaja in an interview with NTV on Tuesday night.

Mr Nassir of ODM who is in a cutthroat competition with Mike Sonko of Wiper party said in the same interview that his main concern currently is about winning the election and not the person whom he is competing with.

"I worry about one thing and not to sound that I am being cocky or being overconfident but I worry about being a better version of where I was yesterday. I strive to be better than I was yesterday. And that is the reason why, we are where we are today. I am not going to be the person who is going to start looking around my shoulder and wondering who is chasing me. I want the people who are behind me to start asking themselves, the amount of gusto," said the Mvita MP.

An opinion poll commissioned by the Nation Media Group (NMG) recently shows that in Nairobi, Mr Sakaja of Kenya Kwanza Alliance would have garnered 37 per cent of the vote, followed by Mr Igathe of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party at 21 per cent, had elections been held in early May.

Mr Sakaja, who is finishing his first term as senator after one term as a nominated MP, enjoys majority support in Dagoretti North, Kibra, Roysambu, Embakasi North, Embakasi Central, Embakasi East, Makadara, Kamkunji, Langata, Ruaraka, Kasarani, Starehe, Mathare and Embakasi West constituencies.

Mr Igathe has the backing of a majority of voters in Westlands, Dagoretti South and Embakasi South constituencies.

While in the race to succeed Governor Hassan Joho, the Nation Media Group poll conducted recently by Infotrak Research & Consulting shows Mr Nassir has a 40 per cent approval rating against newcomer Sonko’s 33 per cent.

Mr Nassir’s popularity seems to be linked to that of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in Mombasa which stands at 63 per cent, compared to Wiper’s 23 percent.

Both Mr Sakaja and Mr Nassir who are eyeing to be managers of the country's top cities have set water as one of their top agenda in case they are elected come August.

The Nairobi Senator says that the biggest nightmare in the capital city is the acute water shortage which he has promised to address in his first term in office.

"Nairobi needs approximately one million liters of water but all we have is 525,600 liters. Once we get the quantity, we need to sort out the issue of the distribution, which is where the key problem is. The quantity issue will be sorted out by end of the 2023," he said.

He went ahead: "Sort out the issue of infiltration of the current water distribution system. Cartels who have blocked the actual piping and we will use technology to identify some of these issues so that by the end of my first term, every house will have a piped water."

Mr Nassir also lamented that cartels are frustrating residents of the coastal city and his regime will weed them out to ensure that there is accessibility to cheap clean water.

The Mvita MP says that within three years after getting into office, he will partner with other stakeholders to desalinize the water to end the jerrican menace.

"The role of government is to enhance the life of its citizens. So first and foremost, if we can be able to tap into desalination, we don't have to say that we are going to have the manpower or the capacity to store. We intend to do is consider partnering with other stakeholders," he said.

"The amount of money that you would genuinely pay per cubic meter if it was coming from Mombasa water would be cheaper than the cost of jerry cans," Mr Nassir added.

The two leaders also pledged that they would ease way of doing business by ensuring that they do away with many licenses put in place.

They are also determined in introducing feed program in primary schools in their counties in their counties as away to increase school enrollments.