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Battle for Nairobi heats up in Azimio factions

By Grace Ng'ang'a | Feb 7th 2022 | 3 min read

Azimio la Umoja aspirants; Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris, MP Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, and MP Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands) at a church in Githurai 44, February 6, 2022. [David Njaaga,Standard]

A power struggle in Azimio la Umoja over sharing of Nairobi’s top seats threatens to split the movement.

Two factions of the coalition are out to take over county elective seats, with each presenting their preferred line-up ahead of April nominations.

The first faction has Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru as governor aspirants, while ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna is eyeing the Senate seat. Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris is seeking reelection.

The other team comprises Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu, businessman and President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Richard Ngatia for governor, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda (for Senator) and Nominated MP Beatrice Kwamboka (Woman Rep).

Yesterday, the Sifuna-led group attended a church service in Githurai and maintained that they were the team to represent Nairobi County under the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja.

They promised to make Nairobi a better place and vowed to work together. Sifuna said their faction, dubbed Azimio A, had people of integrity. “This is the team for Raila Odinga. This is the team that does not involve individuals with corrupt cases or with pending court cases,” he said.

“This is the team Nairobi Azimio. This team that will take over Nairobi will deal with all your issues. You can be sure of that,” said Ms Passaris.

Mr Waweru said: “Theis team will take Nairobi County to the next level. The other team will steal from you.”

“Sisi team yetu hatutaki wakora (our team does not want cartels),” said Mr Wanyonyi.

But speaking to The Standard, Kamanda downplayed any division in the movement, saying it was united with the sole purpose of getting Raila to power.

He exuded confidence that the movement would conduct free and fair primaries, and that the window was open for all candidates to sell their agenda. “We may fight, but at the end of the day, Azimio is one,” Kamanda said.

Two weeks ago, a similar rift was witnessed in the Kenya Kwanza alliance when Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja (ANC) and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru (UDA), who are eyeing governorship, clashed during a rally on Tuesday last week in Nairobi.

Trouble began after Mr Sakaja cut short Ms Wanjiru as she was addressing residents at a rally in Kangemi.

Kenya Kwanza alliance brings together Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA, Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma Senator).

Political parties are required to present their nominees’ lists for the various seats by April 9. 

“A political party intending to present a presidential candidate in this election shall conduct its primaries and resolve intra-party disputes on or before Friday, April 22,” a notice from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission says.

Political parties will also be required to submit names of persons contesting in the party primaries, the date and venues by the said date being 21 days before nomination day.

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