“When Raila was at Uhuru Park things were ugly. When Kajwang stood there as Chief Justice, where were they?” ...
Forget Sh580 corruption allegations, I am the governor Nairobi County needs
Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinad Waititu Babayao says he is in the race to become the next governor for Nairobi County. Babayao will run as an independent and is determined to give the other candidates a run for their money.
“Do you think there is anyone among those people they are mentioning who can trounce me?” asked Waititu, boasting that his political network in the city is still intact.
Those being touted to contest include Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, former MPs Margaret Wanjiru, Peter Kenneth, Dennis Waweru, businesswoman Agnes Kagure, Nairobi City Council ex-clerk Philip Kisia and former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo.
Babayao, who was impeached following court orders barring him from office after he was charged with six counts over a Sh580 million irregular tender, says he has every right to vie since he has not been found guilty by a court of law.
His lawyer, John Swaka agrees, saying Babayao is eligible to run since his court case has not been concluded.
“The principle of innocent until proven guilty applies,” says Swaka.
- READ MORE
- Street gamblers using juju power to trap curious customers
- Nairobi night curfew: Police officers sprayed with faeces, dirty water in city estate
Lawyer Morris Kimuli of M Kimuli & Co. Advocates also says nothing can stop Babayao from running.
“He can run. Impeachment is a largely political process. One person may fall where someone else, facing a purge for the same reasons would survive. In my books, lack of integrity can only be assessed objectively if someone goes through an impartial, non-political fair due process. That is the court, not an assembly that votes on the basis of political persuasion,” says Kimuli.
Babayao, who contested for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in 2013, narrowly losing lost to ODM candidate Dr Evans Kidero, says he took a strategic retreat from politics after his impeachment.
“When the heat was too much, I decided to take a break from politics and lie low. I think I have reflected enough and this is the right time to return to what I enjoy doing…politics. I will present my candidature for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat,” Babayao told The Nairobian, adding that he will make an official announcement in the next two weeks.
Apart from who will be an ideal running mate, he says, his other headache is Sonko.
“One big challenge is winning over Sonko’s ‘hustlers’. You can’t ignore them because they are a huge voting bloc,” notes Waititu.
Optimistic that he will win the graft case hanging over his head, Babayao thinks his woes have nothing to do with corruption or incompetence, but malice instigated by his political rivals and detractors afraid of his rising political star in Central Kenya.
“Voters are too smart; they are able to discern truth from lies. They know my ouster had nothing to do with corruption,” says Babayao, insisting his troubles started when he started to openly side with Deputy President William Ruto.
He claims some influential people in and outside government misconstrued his closeness to Ruto as a sign of disrespect to President Uhuru Kenyatta. The former Nairobi deputy mayor says he has no problem with Uhuru whom he describes as a “father figure” in the Jubilee party.
“It was all about sibling rivalry where some of my colleagues simply misunderstood me and thought I was fighting the President. The truth of the matter is that, me being like the first son, I was working hard to keep Jubilee intact,” says Babayao.
While serving as governor, at no time, he says, did he have a problem with President Uhuru.
“My detractors who were envious of my achievements worked hard to ensure there was a strained relationship between me and the President. And if I ever wronged him (Uhuru), I apologise,” says Babayao, adding he now has a peace of mind following prayers from many people.
Born on January 1, 1962, the man began his political journey in 2002 when he was elected councillor for Njiru Ward on a Kanu ticket. In the 2007 elections, he ran against fiery Embakasi MP, David Mwenje. Both fell to newcomer Meritus Mugabe Were. But in a sad twist of fate, amidst the chaos of the post-election violence, Mugabe never got to be sworn in. He died in a mysterious robbery at his gate in Woodley estate, Nairobi, on January 29, 2008.
In the by-elections that followed, Babayao clinched the seat. He was later appointed an Assistant Minister in the Grand Coalition government that followed, a position he held until September 2012 when he was suspended over claims of incitement and hate speech.
In 2013, Babayao ran for city governor, losing narrowly to Evans Kidero. But in 2015, he surprised all when he shifted base to Kabete to win a Parliamentary seat in a by-election following the shooting of MP George Muchai in a Nairobi street. Two years later, he came with a smoking gun to Kiambu and blew flambouyant tycoon and incumbent governor, William Kabogo, out of town.