Gakuya reads mischief as UDA postpones city branch elections

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The much anticipated United Democratic Alliance (UDA)  elections in Nairobi have been postponed indefinitely, throwing candidates and delegates in confusion.

UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala is on the receiving end over the development amid allegations that there were plans to lock out some candidates who had swept posts in constituency and ward levels.

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya who is vying for the chairmanship has alleged a plot to disenfranchise him despite having majority of delegates.

Gakuya, who met about 200 delegates in Kasarani Stadium, Thursday, said he  will not allow any attempts to have a consensus process and will only accept results of an exercise conducted through the ballot in a fair and democratic manner.

“There is no reason to postpone the Nairobi elections because there are no major issues like the other six counties. If elections are not held this weekend, we should be given a date as early as next week so that we can move on to other issues,” he said.

“Give us a chance. We do not want any other delays and the National Elections Board (NEB) should not engage in sideshows. We expect fairness in the county elections. It is also not right that the candidates were not informed of the postponement early enough and we will have to go to seek an explanation on what happened,” he added.

Gakuya said he is in UDA to stay and is ready to build it into a democratic party.

The MP explained that there are always divergent opinions in parties that portray rebellion but President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua are conversant with politics and will lead UDA to the next level.

“We do not want side shows in the party. We want to do things in a democratic manner to the very end since we were allowed to battle it out from the beginning," he added.

The MP also dismissed claims of being sponsored to vie for the chairperson position by Gachagua saying he has been in politics long enough and can make an independent decision.

“There are those portraying it as if the DP has been sponsoring me to vie. The battle is between me and Governor Sakaja and Gachagua should not be used as a scapegoat. I have my own stand and have never had a godfather in politics and now I am on my fifth election in Nairobi,” he said.

On Wednesday, NEB Chairperson, Anthony Mwaura said in a statement that his office would issue a notice of timelines of the scheduled county elections.

Mwaura noted that all elected constituency delegates in the first phase of grassroots elections will be informed of the date and venue of scheduled county elections.

“In the meantime, disputes concerning the just concluded constituency elections will be dispensed with, by the electoral and disputes resolution committee,” he said.

This threw the candidates into confusion saying recent grassroots elections, went well and they expected the county level to follow suit.

Former Nairobi Women Representative, Milllicent Omanga, who attended Gakuya’s meeting accused the governor of intimidating his opponents supporters.

“I am not the only one who has complained of intimidation from the governor. There are about 32 delegates who have come complaining that their businesses have been unfairly closed down because they are not supporting the governor. He is using the staff and people who are in county boards to come and intimidate the mama mbogas supporting team Gakuya,” she claimed.

The delegates said they have not been lured to support the MP by anyone, insisting that he has played a major role in Nairobi politics even before the Sakaja joined UDA and are optimistic that he will lead the party to clinch more seats.

UDA only clinched four out of 17 parliamentary seats in Nairobi.