A move has been hatched by central Kenya politicians to position one of their own as the next governor of Nairobi, in what is seen as a step towards reclaiming the region’s political supremacy in the Capital.
At least 70 Members of Parliament drawn from the Mt Kenya region and Nairobi, who met in a rare caucus in Nyeri county to discuss various issues affecting the region, gave priority to a bid to unseat Evans Kidero from the City government’s pinnacle in the next election.
The MPs yesterday resolved to rally behind Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru to run for the Nairobi governor seat in 2017, as they appointed him the chairman of the central Kenya Parliamentary Group.
MPs who attended the one-day retreat at Aberdare Country Club vowed to marshal the support of the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities living in Nairobi to vote for the MP whom they touted as the likely Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) candidate for Nairobi governorship.
In the 2013 General Election, ODM’s Kidero sailed past lead challenger Ferdinand Waititu of TNA, who was seen to have lost due to a split vote among candidates with roots from Central Kenya.
However, the move by the legislators is expected to evoke interesting developments in Jubilee because Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has declared interest in the seat.
Sonko has been going all out to splash goodies on the City populace, especially in informal settlements, in what is an obvious early campaign that has made many politicians, especially in Nairobi, uncomfortable.
While addressing workers during this year’s Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, President Uhuru Kenyatta affirmed that Kidero was still Nairobi’s governor despite the philanthropic antics displayed by Sonko.
Speaking during the sidelines of yesterday’s retreat, Gichugu MP Njogu Barua said by electing Waweru as their chair the MPs had symbolically given him the support of the region in the bid for the governor’s seat.
“MPs from our region have endorsed Waweru as our preferred candidate for this seat. In essence, we are showing our people the way forward when it comes to voting in 2017,’’ said Barua. Other sources in the retreat said they were convinced Waweru was a suitable candidate for the job, describing him as “sober and untainted”.
The sources intimated that they had, in principal, agreed to rally their communities behind Waweru and at the same time to reach out to other communities under JAP for support.
The move by the MPs comes hot on the heels of the election of Ferdinand Waititu as the MP for Kabete, effectively shifting his political base from Nairobi to Kiambu, where he has stirred political calm by declaring that he will oppose the incumbent governor William Kabogo in 2017.
Waweru agreed that an endorsement by the Mt Kenya communities would give him a head-start in the race. “The fact that MPs from the region have faith in me means I stand a better chance of capturing the seat,’’ he said.
Among senators who attended the meeting were Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and Kimani Wa Matangi (Kiambu). Notable absentee was Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki who was said to have sent an apology. During the two-day retreat the legislators resolved that small parties from the region be merged under JAP to ensure a block vote for President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto in 2017.
In a statement read to the press by Waweru, the leaders said the only way to ensure re-election of the Jubilee government is to use JAP as the sole vehicle in elections. “We will dialogue with other like-minded parties and leaders to form a strong political vehicle to propel Uhuru and Ruto to win a second term in office,’’ said Waweru, adding that the parties would “consolidate their operations, structures and functions”.
Kiraitu, who agreed to merge his Alliance Party of Kenya alias ‘Bus’, said they agreed to meet early to lay out strategies that could win Jubilee a second term. “Unlike before, we have resolved to convene early so as to strategise on how the President and his deputy will retain their seats in 2017.
We want to consolidate our unity in this region before consulting other like-minded parties,” said Kiraitu. Among the concerns they raised were unfair budgetary allocations to their counties and high consumption of illicit brews.
They claimed that the 1999 national population census being used to award revenue to counties by the Micah Cheserem-led Commission on Revenue Commission was doctored, thus disadvantaging the region.
“We, as leaders from this region, want to state that we are getting a raw deal when it comes to revenue allocation. How can Turkana get over Sh10 billion while a county like Nyeri receives a mere Sh3 billion? We want our rightful share,” said Kieni MP Kanini Kega
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