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Uhuru Kenyatta refuses to be drawn in Nairobi Jubilee nomination row

By Moses Nyamori | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 22:18 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has refused to be sucked into the political feud pitting Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.

Uhuru said he can only act as an independent arbiter if the leaders formally invite  him to help them reach a consensus but will not impose a candidate on the people of Nairobi.

Speaking on Citizen TV's Nipashe, Uhuru also defended his administration's scorecard, highlighting infrastructure development and fight against corruption.

"I have repeated that I will not get involved in the Jubilee primaries. The people will have the right to pick their favourite candidate," he said.

"But if they ask me to help them reach a consensus I will help them. I am ready to be an independent arbiter but will not favour aspirants," he added.

Uhuru expressed Jubilee's keen interest to wrestle Nairobi governor's seat from Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) Governor Evans Kidero.

"Our wish is to have a Jubilee candidate to win the Nairobi seat. But I cannot say so and so should not run," he said.

Sonko had claimed that Jubilee is favouring Kenneth in the race and vowed not to step down for him.

Uhuru said his government had done more than any other previous administration in the war against graft, and asked Kenyans to vote him for a second term for Jubilee to continue with its development projects.

Uhuru said his government has provided the much needed resources to agencies tasked with the fight against graft.

He fell short of blaming the agencies of failing his efforts to rid the scourge.

"I wish we had the old elections where the President had powers," he said.

"We forced Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries out because of corruption. People they will tell you that no other government has fought graft like this administration," he said.

"In the past, the President had the powers to appoint judges. Today, the President has no role in the Judiciary. My role is to ensure I give enough resources and enabling environment to discharge their duties," he explained.

"If the independent institutions fail to discharge their role what do I do?" he posed.

He further defended his party's decision to allow people facing corruption allegations to run on Jubilee ticket, stating that he has no powers to block people running for political seats.

"I cannot deny you your democratic right to run for an elective post. We have organizations that clear aspirants. I cannot stop anybody to run because I don't have such powers," he said.

Uhuru acknowledged the high rate of unemployment bedeviling the country saying it has been occasioned by poor infrastructure development by the previous administration.

He said connecting homes to the national grid will expand the economy.

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