Six weeks after elections, the Nairobi County Government is yet to convene its first sitting where the first order of business is swearing-in of MCAs.
At a time when most counties are finalising the process, Governor Johnson Sakaja is yet to convene the county’s first meeting due to competing interests.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna Wednesday called on Sakaja to put election mentality behind and start serving Kenyans.
“The assembly needs to be convened as fast as possible. We finish the oath taking part and have a county government, as a whole, to start working and put election mentality behind us (sic),” Sifuna told the media.
“We want the governor to know that at times human life is more important than politics. People are suffering because the assembly needs to be in place for seamless service delivery,” said the senator.
Officials who spoke to The Standard said that lobbying and blackmail have intensified for positions in the county executive, which includes the 10 county executives, board members and 20 chief officers, who head departments at City hall.
Factions are also emerging as the battles for the speaker’s job, deputy speaker’s job and positions in House committees intensify.
“Sakaja will have to embrace dialogue to remain in charge of the county,” political analyst Martin Andati said.
Sakaja did not respond to our calls.
Jubilee leaders in Nairobi told The Standard that Azimio had set aside the speaker’s position for Jubilee while the deputy speaker position was to be given to Wiper.
The party wrote to ODM, informing the secretary general (Sifuna) that it had nominated Wangoro Mwangi for the speaker position.
Wangoro vied for the Embakasi North parliamentary seat on a Jubilee ticket but lost to a UDA candidate.
“The Jubilee party wishes to nominate Wangoro Mwangi as the Nairobi speaker,” the letter signed by Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni and dated August 18, reads in part.
Kioni told the Standard that Jubilee was still holding consultations with ODM, Wiper and other Azimio parties for the seats in counties.
“It’s not only Nairobi but a number of counties that we won in the last polls. We will communicate the right position at the right time,” Kioni said.
But the ODM SG, Edwin Sifuna, dismissed Jubilee, saying that he had not received any communication from Jubilee regarding the speaker’s seat.
“We will write to the County Clerk to present our candidate for the position of speaker. I have not received any letter from Kioni,” Sifuna said.
“In fact, we have no business with Jubilee in the speaker’s seat, we will field our candidate,” the senator added.
Azimio won 44 seats, giving it an upper hand in the county assembly. They include Jubilee (six), ODM (35) and Wiper Party (four). Kenya Kwanza parties won 36 seats. They include UDA (35) and Chama cha Kazi (one). Two candidates were elected as independents.
“They can run here and there, but that does not guarantee them the seats,” Wangoro told ODM.
Two factions have emerged in ODM, one allied to the party’s director of legal affairs, Anthony Moturi, and another to former deputy speaker Ken Ngondi.
Moturi said Jubilee was given the governor’s seat while Wiper was given the deputy county chief’s seat. However, the two lost in the elections.
“The party leader said ODM would take the speaker’s position, and all other positions will be shared like they have been shared in Parliament through the zoning process,” Moturi said.
He added that he was waiting for the party’s endorsement but would agree to the party’s position.
“I am waiting for the party to write a formal communication to endorse me,” he said.
Last Thursday, MCAs allied to Azimio skipped the inauguration of Sakaja despite having been invited.
The assembly is expected to elect a speaker and a deputy speaker during the first sitting.
On the executive front, it is a delicate balancing act for Sakaja as he tries to factor in the interests of his loyal supporters, financiers, parties, and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru’s team to form the next government.
Wanjiru stepped down for Sakaja during UDA nominations. She contested for a Senate seat but lost to Sifuna.
“We also have to factor in the interests of Azimio, owing to the roles they played for Sakaja to win,” a close aide told The Standard.
UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina referred us to Sakaja. However, Sakaja did not pick up our calls.
“We don’t allow anyone to hold others hostage, and the party will always stand for transparency and good leadership,” she said.
Former MCA Patrick Mbangula dismissed the boardroom battles, saying that Kenya Kwanza was focused on serving Kenyans.
“There is no infighting, and I can confidently tell you that Kenya Kwanza is organised and confident to serve Kenyans,” Mbangula said.