Technocrat Polycarp Igathe's tough task after edging out Tim Wanyonyi

Former Equity Bank Group Chief Commercial Officer, Polycarp  Igathe. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The decision to field Polycarp Igathe as the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya candidate for Nairobi as opposed to Westlands MP, Tim Wanyonyi has revealed one painful fact; that when it comes to boardroom negotiations, there is little regard for the people.

If the Azimio team had opted for an opinion poll between Igathe and Wanyonyi, it is obvious who would have won. It would have been the same story, if they had subjected the two to a nomination exercise. The reason is very simple. Wanyonyi declared his aspirations long time ago and has been on the ground seeking support for months.

If at all, Jubilee wanted to field Igathe as a challenger to Wanyonyi for the Azimio he too, would have been on the ground with the people endearing himself to them and thus make it the fairest of contests. That is exactly what Richard Ngatia - another latecomer, was trying to do.

Igathe is definitely a worthy candidate, if his corporate record is anything to go by. However, the approach Jubilee has used to front him is that of disdain. Wanyonyi went to the people, Igathe went to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. It is definitely frustrating for Wanyonyi who might even be regretting the existence of the Azimio coalition. Why should a candidate who is leading in popularity be forced to shelve his ambitions for someone who has not campaigned for a day?

Two weeks ago, Igathe was nowhere on the lips of Kenyans. He is now the Azimio candidate. His abilities and endorsement notwithstanding, Igathe has a political mountain to climb. First, he has to shed off the tag of a State House project and which may be impossible at this point. Secondly, he now has to prove his mettle as a man who can go to the people and endear himself to them.

He has to prove that he can comb through the streets of Kibera, Embakasi, Mathare comfortably and adequately satisfy the residents that he understands their issues. He has to prove that he can rally people to Jacaranda Gardens or Kamukunji. He can’t stick to his corporate ideals and succeed on the campaign trail. That would have only been possible as a running mate.

All said and done, Polycarp Igathe still has his chances and he cannot just be wished away. The tyranny of numbers that was introduced into Kenya’s political parlance by Mutahi Ngunyi may still be at play.

Charity begins at home. On paper an Igathe-Kaloki- Sifuna ticket is a strong one. This also means, Kenya Kwanza’s Johnson Sakaja’s may have to look for a running mate from the Gikuyu community as he reaps from Wanyonyi’s withdrawal from the race. Sakaja should thus not rest easy and assume it is a done a deal.

Writer is anchor at Radio Maisha