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Storm over Eugene Wamalwa bid to take on Evans Kidero in Nairobi gubernatorial race

POLITICS
By Protus Onyango | August 2nd 2016
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. His recent endorsement by Jubilee leaders from Central region has caused a major storm in the party. Jubilee is determined to wrest the seat from Governor Evans Kidero. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa is the latest entrant to a growing list of aspirants for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat. But his recent endorsement by Jubilee leaders from Central region has caused a major storm in the party. Jubilee is determined to wrest the seat from Governor Evans Kidero.

Nairobi-based leaders from The National Alliance told off their counterparts to steer clear off politics in the city. Mr Wamalwa will now fight it out with Senator Mike Sonko, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, TNA Chairman Johnson Sakaja and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru for the Jubilee ticket.

The endorsement of Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa for Nairobi governor has sparked a storm in Jubilee.

The ruling coalition led by Deputy President William Ruto had promised to wrestle Nairobi, which the DP described as the hub of national government, from Governor Evans Kidero’s grip.

“This time round we will ensure Nairobi County has a Jubilee governor. It is not possible for the national government to be headed by Jubilee while the leading county is headed by a governor from a different coalition,” Mr Ruto told faithful at Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Dandora in February.

Nairobi governorship is the envy of all, given the billions of shillings the city generates. The governor runs a county that hosts corporate headquarters, government offices, embassies, UN offices, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Parliament Buildings where both members of the National Assembly and Senate hold their sittings.

Mr Wamalwa, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, nominated MP and TNA Chairman Johnston Sakaja and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru are all fighting for the Jubilee ticket.

On Sunday, at St Peter and Paul Catholic Church, in Kiambu, MPs Kanini Kega (Kieni), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town) and Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East) endorsedWamalwa for Nairobi’s top seat.

“Wamalwa is a friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. We know if he wins, we are going to feel the benefits in Kiambu. We can’t let this seat go to the Opposition again,” Mr Waititu said.

But some TNA leaders told off the leaders, saying they had no say in city politics. MPs John Njoroge (Kasarani), James Gakuya (Embakasi North) and Bernard Mutura (Makadara) told Waititu to concentrate on Kiambu County where he has an uphill task of unseating Governor William Kabogo.

DISMISSED MOVE

Speaking to the media at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, Mr Njoroge, who chairs the Nairobi Jubilee Parliamentary Group, dismissed the move saying: “We, the Nairobi MPs including Maina Kamanda (Starehe), Rachel Shebesh (Woman Rep) and John Ndirangu (Embakasi Central) who are out of the country are against the idea.”

“We have elected leaders in this county who will chart its political cause. No candidate will be imposed on us and all candidates will be subjected to a competitive nomination process,” he added.

Gakuya accused Waititu of wanting to plant  his political project on Nairobians, and told the former Embakasi lawmaker to concentrate on Kiambu.

“The people of Nairobi rejected Waititu. Let him stop interfering in Nairobi matters,” he said.

Mr Mutura urged Kiambu voters to use Waititu’s sentiments to vote him out.

“The people of Kiambu should see what kind of leader they have who is not keen on their welfare. He is only there physically but his heart is in Nairobi,” the Makadara lawmaker said.

Nairobi TNA branch officials dismissed Waititu’s team, saying they were undermining the city’s leadership.

“We categorically dismiss the purported endorsement of Wamalwa by a section of political leaders from Central Kenya. These leaders can’t decide for us as Nairobi has elected and opinion leaders who make informed decisions on behalf of their people,” said Gitonga Njoroge, the chairman.

He added: “It is a fact that we have an overwhelming majority in the city. It is natural that TNA will get the governorship ticket in whatever alliance they will build using the Jubilee Party.”

Mary Njuguna, Dagoretti South TNA treasurer, said endorsing Wamalwa meant that the CS was weak and can’t mount a successful campaign without assistance.

But more that 20 Nairobi TNA MCAs welcomed Wamalwa’s endorsement, saying they support him and after nominations, they will support whoever gets the Jubilee ticket.

Speaking to the media in City Hall yesterday, Kenneth Irungu, chair of Jubilee MCAs, said: “We are in full support of Wamalwa to join the race. His candidature is positive to Jubilee as he can consolidate Western region to vote for Jubilee as a bloc.”

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