Polycarp Igathe, Johnson Sakaja tear into each other at the Nairobi gubernatorial debate

Johnson Sakaja and Polycarp Igathe at the Nairobi County gubernatorial debate at CUEA on July 11, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The integrity question took the centre stage during the Nairobi Governor’s debate as the two front runners Polycarp Igathe and Johnson Sakaja took on each other.

As the two displayed their prowess, they were tasked to explain their views on whether the degree requirement should be a requirement for leadership.

Igathe who is contesting on a Jubilee ticket said as majority of professions require, one must have some form of qualifications and an understanding of issues.

“Although politics is about the people, a leader must have some added advantage of qualification because then this places one in a better position for leadership,” Igathe said.

While Sakaja blamed the state for his woes, he said the degree question is a constitutional requirement and all political aspirants have a mandate to abide by it.

“Many have wanted me out, but I have the competence, I have the degree and that is why I am here,” Sakaja said.

In a rejoinder, Igathe refuted claims that he is a state project.

“Igathe is a man of himself, I want to meet my good friend on the ballot because there is no bigger duty for Nairobians than voting on August 9 because that is the only way they get to make their voice be heard,” he said.

He added, “I am ready to serve the people of Nairobi in five years because I bring in a fresh mandate.”

Igathe said when he was deputy governor, he was not given that opportunity to serve.

He said all he would do is get to the office, hang his coat and read the newspapers.

“Many politicians earn for not working and for my case integrity would not allow me and that is why I quit because I felt that I was not doing what I was meant to do,” he said.

Sakaja on the other hand alluded confidence that he would win and dispelled rumours that due to certificate issues, his win would be thrown to the deep end.

“My woes are being perpetrated by the government and political propagandists. We are being victimized because they know we are a force and I can assure Nairobians that my win will not be taken to court,” he said.


The candidates further tore each other with regard to the mandate of NMS.

Sakaja said if Igathe did not quit, NMS would not have come to play because the national government exploited former Nairobi Governor Milke Sonko.

Although both Igathe and Sonko agreed that NMS’s term should come to an end, they said poor book balance between the national government and the City Hall was to blame.

“I will terminate NMS’s contract because I have a better strategy that will take full control of City Hall’s operations,” Igathe said.


The candidates agreed that the best way to end corruption in the county is to fully digitalise public revenue management systems to be able to track and investigate the operations.

They said Nairobi is currently in a dire situation and debt-ridden because of lack of political goodwill from the national government.

The duo said there is a need to explore and strengthen revenues from parking fees, land rates, outdoor advertising and building permits.

While Igathe said he would focus on performance agreement with output captured on a scorecard for city employees, Sakaja said he would go hard and refuse to be part of the system that holds the county at ransom.

Housing and water

Igathe and Sakaja said there is a great need to redesign the housing sector through the urban renewal plan and thorough public participation to come up with modern houses that are decent and affordable.

Sakaja said his administration will partner with the private sector to let them construct the houses.

With regards to water scarcity, both candidates said they would sort out issues of distribution to ensure all parts of the county access the water.

They said they would look for ways to bring additional water through alternative sources in an effort to mitigate perennial rationing.