Differences between former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and four other aspirants for Nairobi County governor’s seat played out yesterday during the Jubilee Party’s strategy meeting.
Kenneth did not attend the high profile event at Kasarani gymnasium in Nairobi that brought together President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and the who-is-who in Jubilee Party.
On Tuesday, at a meeting hosted by Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen residence in Nairobi, it was agreed that the aspirants for the Nairobi top seat agree on a Jubilee Party candidate who will face off with Governor Evans Kidero, by February.
Aspirants who attended the talks apart from Kenneth were Senator Mike Sonko and MPs Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Johnson Sakaja (nominated) and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru.
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But in an interesting twist, Sonko speaking during yesterday’s meeting, seemed to read from a different script.
The vocal senator issued what appeared like a thinly veiled attack on the former Gatanga MP, before hundreds of the Jubilee aspirants that converged at Kasarani for the party’s national registration of members launch.
“As political leaders from the county we demand that we should be respected. In Nairobi, we do not want infighting. We do not want outsiders to be imposed on the city residents,” said the senator amid cheers.
Also present at Ruto’s home were Nairobi Woman Rep Rachel Shebesh (Nairobi County) and MPs Maina Kamanda (Starehe), John Njoroge (Kasarani), Yusuf Hassan (Kamukunji), James Gakuya (Embakasi North), John Ndirangu (Embakasi Central) among others.
Shebesh and Kamanda, the only two lawmakers from the city, accorded an opportunity to address the Kasarani gathering, reiterated similar sentiments, with the former falling short of revealing the formula that will be used to identify the JP candidate for the top job.
“Nairobi is a cosmopolitan county and it belongs to all of us. Those of us that come from largest community have no choice but to give space to people from other groups,” said Shebesh.
“Luhyas, Kisiis, Kambas must have space in Nairobi. The county needs to have the face of Kenya as the city belongs to all of us. We as leaders need to take the bold step to make inclusivity possible,” she added.
Mr Kamanda promised the party leadership that in a few weeks’ time, they will come up with a name of the Jubilee flag-bearer for the Nairobi county top job.
“We will walk together with our brothers and sisters who are here today and agree on who we shall field as our candidate to contest against Kidero,” he said, pointing to where Sonko, Sakaja, Waweru and Bishop Wanjiru, who ironically sat together.
National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kindiki Kithure hailed the Nairobi leaders for rooting for consensus to pick who will fly the JP flag, noting that the example should be followed by other counties, where infighting may cost the party seats.
“Jubilee Party is bigger than all of us. I thank Sonko and the other three leaders for being a good example. They are ready to forego their ambitions for the sake of the party,” said Prof Kithure, the lead master of ceremony.
“As Jubilee we must clinch the Nairobi governor seat and others that we lost in 2013,” he added.