Raila, Ruto face headache in Nairobi governor’s race

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Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja Movement and Deputy President William Ruto Hustler Nation camp face a delicate balancing act in picking candidates for the Nairobi governor seat.

While Azimio group has attracted several hopefuls supporting Raila’s presidential bid, the DP faction is equally grappling with increased aspirants eying the ticket.

There are at least four hopefuls who want to contest for the seat under Azimio.

They are Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu, businesswoman Ann Kagure and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia.

In Ruto’s camp, former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru wants to contest on a United Democratic Alliance ticket.

The new partnership between UDA and Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC brought Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on board as he is also eying the seat.

Sakaja, though a Jubilee MP, has been aligning himself with the ANC leader.

Speaking during ANC’s National Delegates Congress meeting on January 23 at the Bomas of Kenya, Sakaja said he is seeking to be Nairobi’s fourth governor.

It is during the NDC that the partnership between ANC and UDA was announced.

“Senator Cleophas Malala (ANC) will be going for the Kakamega governor seat while I will be contesting for the same seat in Nairobi,” Sakaja said at the NDC.

Bishop Wanjiru was not present at the event.

Addressing a joint rally of UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya in Nakuru on Wednesday, Wanjiru expressed confidence she will be Nairobi’s next governor.

“I am waiting to be sworn in as Nairobi governor after the August 9 election,” she said.

“UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya will remain united as the country heads to the polls. It is only when we are united that we can be blessed.”

On the same day, Wanyonyi was scheduled to meet Makadara MP George Aladwa for talks but the two did not show up at the venue.

An invite from Wanyonyi’s communication team indicated that the two were to address a press conference after holding private talks.

Aladwa is the ODM chairman in Nairobi.

A lobby, Mulembe Caucus Group, however, showed up at the venue and addressed the media.

The leader of the group, Wilfred Shimoli, said they are ready for nominations.

“We are fully behind Wanyonyi and ready for nominations. The party should not deny us this opportunity. Raila should pick a deputy from Mt Kenya and let us battle it out in Nairobi,” he said.

Wanyonyi and Kagure have officially launched their bid for the gubernatorial seat.

The Westlands MP has said he will not step aside for any aspirant eying the seat under the Azimio La Umoja Movement.

On January 17, Wanyonyi said a clique of people “cannot sit in a room and decide that there are those who should shelve their ambitions.”

Kananu has declared she will defend her seat. She was sworn in as Nairobi’s third and first female Governor on November 16, last year, after former Governor Mike Sonko was impeached.

Kagure has already hit the ground, engaging with Nairobi residents.

While launching her gubernatorial bid on January 7, at the Kasarani Stadium Gymnasium, Kagure said she was in the hotly contested race and was better placed to replace Kananu.

She has not declared her party of choice but said she will vie for the seat through Azimio la Umoja coalition. Kagure has been an ardent supporter of Raila’s presidential bid.

Ngatia has been a close confidant of Raila after the handshake between the ODM leader and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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