Battle for city governor takes shape as more declare interest

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, KCC chairperson Richard Ngatia, businesswoman Agnes Kagure and Makadara MP George Aladwa. [File, Standard]

The race to succeed Governor Anne Kananu has intensified with more politicians and technocrats declaring their interest in the seat.

Those who have so far declared interest in the governor’s seat are Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, businesswoman Agnes Kagure and Kenya Chamber of Commerce chairperson Richard Ngatia.

But as we enter the election year, more aspirants are expected to announce their candidature in what is shaping up to be a do or die political duel.

Makadara MP George Aladwa is expected to officially launch his bid this month. A month ago, the legislator said he will be seeking the seat on an ODM ticket, claiming he was the best pick to lead the city.

“I want to make it clear that I will be in the race and I am doing it for the people because they want me to move to the next level,” Aladwa said.

But it is not all smooth sailing for the MP as he has to battle it out with his ODM counterpart and Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi who has already launched his bid.

Wanyonyi is banking on a 10-point agenda to transform the capital and bring sanity to a county he says has been at the epicentre of theatrics for the last nine years.

For the past 15 years, Wanyonyi has served Nairobi, first as a nominated councillor between 2007 and 2013 and then as MP for Westlands Constituency since 2013.

Sakaja believes that his track record speaks for itself and is confident that Nairobi residents will vote for him.

He holds that serving as Nairobi Senator allowed him to pass laws that were impactful to the city and he is now seeking an opportunity to implement them.

“There are two types of leaders. Those who want to lead and those who the people want to lead them. I have been on a political journey not just for positions but for what I believe we can achieve as a city,” he said.

Entrepreneur Agnes Kagure declared her bid in November and pledged her support for opposition leader Raila Odinga.

At the Senate level, four aspirants have so far declared their interests in the seat. They are ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, lawyer Karen Nyamu who will be seeking a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket, businessman George Kamano and veteran musician Roy Smith Mwatia, popularly known as Rufftone.

Sifuna announced his candidature on social media, adding that he will be voting at Loresho Primary School in Westlands, Nairobi. “I will be vying for the Nairobi County Senatorial seat on an ODM ticket,” he said.

Sifuna will seek to replace Sakaja.

It will be the third time the lawyer will be running for political office. In 2017, Sifuna lost in the Kanduyi ODM seat during primaries to lawyer John Makali.

He would then throw his hat into the ring again for the Nairobi Senate seat in the same year but lost to Jubilee’s Sakaja.

Nyamu who also doubles up as a Nairobi Water and sewerage Company director, announced her interest on November 29 when she officially joined UDA.

The city lawyer was welcomed to the party by Ruto in a meeting graced by Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi and EALA MP Simon Mbugua at the DP’s residence in Karen.

In 2017, Nyamu unsuccessfully vied for Nairobi Women Representative seat on a Jubilee arty ticket. She lost in the nominations to Rachael Shebesh who was floored by ODM’s Esther Passaris.