Issue Timothy Wanyonyi Nairobi ticket or lose Western, Raila Odinga told

Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

DAP-K leaders have asked ODM leader Raila Odinga to give Westlands MP Timothy Wanyonyi the Nairobi Governor's nomination ticket or forget about Western votes.

They argued that the delayed issuance of the ticket to the lawmaker will 'portray Odinga in bad light among the people of Western'.

Speaking in Kakamega, Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito and Yvonne Khamati said the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya Coalition supporters in Western were getting jittery as they felt Wanyonyi, who draws roots from the region, was being “vilified for no reason”.

The DAP-K leaders, who were in a series of rallies to support a Odinga presidency, said it was unfortunate that ODM gave out tickets to governorship aspirants in Mombasa, Kisumu, Siaya, Kisii, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Migori but left Nairobi where they have a 'tried and tested candidate in Wanyonyi.'

“You wonder why ODM is dilly-dallying to hand Wanyonyi the ticket yet he has all it takes to govern Nairobi. He has outperformed all MPs in Nairobi in terms of development and has the experience and enjoys support from all tribes,” said Khamati, who is vying for the Ikolomani parliamentary seat.

“We are on the ground and I can tell you the delay in giving him (Wanyonyi) the ticket has created a lot of tension among Azimio followers in Western Kenya where the lawmaker comes from. If they mess with Wanyonyi, they will have messed with the delicate Luhya vote,” said the leaders.

Kizito, a former ODM Kakamega chairman who has since decamped to DAP-K, advised Odinga to tread carefully with the Wanyonyi matter if he wishes to get more votes for his presidency from the region compared to what he got in 2017.

He said if ODM handed Wanyonyi the ticket, Odinga would get many “thank you” votes from the Mulembe nation, especially in Bungoma, the home county of Wanyonyi, and where Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA has largely infiltrated more than any other part of Western. 

Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito (left). [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

“Raila is a level-headed and respected statesman. Let him move with speed and give the ticket to Wanyonyi. If Luhyas see that, they will reciprocate by voting in droves for him and should he fail, then I fear for the worst because people believe Wanyonyi fits the bill,” Kizito said while addressing supporters at Malimili in Shinyalu.

The sentiments come even as Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition party is in talks to settle on a single candidate for the Nairobi governor seat between Polycarp Igathe, who has since hit the road running, and Wanyonyi.

Whoever bags the coalition ticket will face off with Kenya Kwanza Alliance candidate Johnson Sakaja, the current Nairobi senator.

Earlier, Wanyonyi had indicated that he was still in the race but was quick to indicate that he will give room to ongoing deliberation within the coalition.

DAP-K, at the same time, asked the ODM leader to go slow on the six-piece voting pattern that he has been advocating in favour of ODM candidates.

They said the approach goes against the democratic gains stipulated in the 2010 Constitution where voters should have a choice to elect whoever they wish irrespective of party.

“If I get to Parliament, I will support Raila even if I don’t belong to his party because he is my preferred presidential candidate,” said Kizito.