UDA polls split leaders as Gachagua wades into city politics

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) grassroots elections in Nairobi pitting Governor Johnstone Sakaja and Embakasi North MP James Gakuya have exposed the simmering political war which has sucked in Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio politicians.

Gakuya, an ally of Gachagua claimed that he is vying for the Nairobi chairmanship because Mt Kenya community has been neglected and abandoned by the Sakaja administration and that his bid will give them a sense of belonging in Nairobi.

He claimed that despite the community overwhelmingly voting for Sakaja, they were not considered for county government appointments.

“Mt Kenya region is suppressed and a time has come that we must demand for positions that will make us know our stake in UDA. We performed dismally during the 2022 General Election and if elected the UDA chairman in Nairobi, I will use my networks to ensure that we get more seats in 2027 because as it is for now, Nairobi is governed by the Opposition,” Gakuya said.

The MP said, among the issues that the region will be pushing for include agitating for a review of sections of the party constitution which provides for three deputy party leaders over claims that this was a booby trap for Gachagua in the 2027 re-election game plan.

“With our presence in the party leadership, we shall agitate for the party leadership to mirror the Executive because there may be a hidden card to have Gachagua, the senior most politician in Mt Kenya, to undergo a nomination competition against the other two other competitors. If they don’t listen to us we shall make a statement,” said the MP.

The MP who has been hopping from one vernacular station to the other claimed that the community is being taken in circles in the ruling party and he wants to vie for Nairobi chairmanship so that ‘they can fight from within.'

“In Nairobi, our community has been sidelined, in the party our interests have been abandoned and in the national government, projects are being dished to the Opposition, our region has been reduced to voting robots. We have been so good and now enough is enough, we must decide whether we shall go on our own instead of filing pots for the other people,” Gakuya said during an interview on Kameme TV.

He further claimed that in the recent grassroots elections, his camp secured 14 constituencies out of the 17 a move he said will guarantee him victory in the county congress elections as it is the delegates elected from the grassroots that will appoint ward, constituency and then county officials.

Sakaja, who has interestingly received political backing from the opposition, claimed that he was being fought for his decision to work with Azimio leader Raila Odinga and vowed to continue working with all the leaders in the city.

Last week Makadara MP George Aladwa defended the governor and urged his critics to allow him to deliver his promises to the electorate.

"Sakaja was voted in as Nairobi Governor the day and as such he was announced during the broad daylight and sworn-in in the daytime and hence should be allowed to work and should be respected,” Alandwa said on Sunday.

Barely two weeks ago, all four Nairobi UDA elected MPs alongside a host of MCAs accused Sakaja of mismanaging the city.

"Nairobi city is drowning in the murky lakes of free-flowing sewerage, estates buried in mountains of garbage, taps whistling tunes of dryness, as storm waters flood homes and businesses,"  Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie said in the joint statement.

Gachagua who is said to be supporting Gakuya in the Nairobi chairmanship, speaking during a function in Langata on Saturday dismissed critics who have questioned his involvement in Nairobi county affairs.

"We have homes and families here. If Nairobi is not thriving, we will not be happy. So nobody should question our interest in Nairobi because this is the capital city. We will continue working together with the county," the DP said.

"Nairobi is too important to be ignored, together with President William Ruto, we have agreed to take a keen interest in Nairobi and we will help restore her glory. We are not doing this just because we have voters in the city but we are also stakeholders," he added.

On Wednesday, speaking during the Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, President William Ruto warned leaders against dividing Kenyans along tribal lines terming the move backward, primitive and retrogressive.

“I urge leaders to stop dividing Kenyans on the basis of tribalism. I urge the leaders and advise them that tribalism will not change the lives of anybody and when you see a leader propagating politics on the basis of tribalism, he is bankrupt because when one lacks an agenda or plan he sticks to ethnicity because it is the last resort to for such a leader,” Ruto said.

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