The decision to prevail upon weak candidates affiliated to Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition to step down for their strong counterparts in areas where multiple candidates have been fielded has claimed first casualties.
Already, ODM Embakasi North parliamentary candidate Jane Muringi has been prevailed upon to step down for Jubilee Party’s Harrison Wangoro to take on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate and incumbent James Gakuya.
Further, Azimio has settled on Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch of ODM to be the sole candidate for the outfit in the constituency.
This means that Jubilee candidate Kelvin Kioko alias Bahati will now have to step down for the first term MP.
The new development follows a joint delegates meeting of ODM and Jubilee on Monday in Nairobi aimed at harmonising and rationalising the coalition’s lineup in the capital.
The meeting was attended by ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh, Jubilee Nairobi County chairperson, Polycarp Igathe’s running mate Professor Philip Kaloki, and other leaders.
The new development follows the resolution of the Azimio Coalition Council meeting on Friday last week, which established a committee to harmonise and rationalise the outfit’s candidates in areas where multiple candidates are likely to cost the coalition party seats.
Mr Sifuna said the member parties of Azimio have agreed to respect zoning criteria agreed upon by the outfit.
He said the Nairobi cleanup is done as Mathare and Embakasi North were the only problematic constituencies in the city.
Already, Irshad Sumra had agreed to step down for Wiper’s Julius Mawathe in Embakasi South constituency where both ODM and Jubilee had fielded candidates.
“We agreed during the meeting that zoning will be respected. We already prevailed upon our candidate in Embakasi North on Sunday and now we are done with Mathare constituency. Those two constituencies were the only problematic ones,” said Mr Sifuna.
He intimated that Bahati will be offered an alternative position in the Azimio government should they take control of the country after the August 9 elections.
“We only have one candidate in Mathare and that is Anthony Oluoch. This young man called Bahati is my younger brother and we will talk. I will make sure that we find him another position within the Azimio government,” said the ODM SG.
For her part, Ms Shebesh also called on Bahati to shelve his ambitions to support Mr Oluoch the same way Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi agreed to step down in favour of Mr Igathe.
However, Bahati has come out to trash the resolution, asking Mr Sifuna to keep off Mathare politics claiming that the ODM SG has been compromised.
“You have been given three million by my losing opponent to lie that I have stepped down and you will offer me a job in the Azimio government. How will you offer me a job and as who? Keep off Mathare politics and concentrate on your senatorial campaigns lest you end up losing as was in 2017,” tweeted Bahati.