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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Corridors of Power

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. Photo/FILE
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. Photo/FILE

The Nairobi political matrix is getting murkier by day as main contenders led by incumbent Governor Evans Kidero roll up sleeves to face off in the epic August 8 contest. As aspirants drooling over Kidero's seat are marshalling their ground machinery to aid their quest, tycoons are also taking positions. On Thursday night, top strategists, senior businesspeople and CEOs of franchise companies held a dinner at a city hotel where they raised more than Sh200 million for Kidero's nominations campaign kitty. More than 50 Nairobi county MCAs across the political divide were at the dinner. During the meeting, it is said that Musalia Mudavadi's ANC party and Moses Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya pledged support for Kidero and therefore will not be fronting a governor candidate. Some leaders in Jubilee's youth wing also endorsed Kidero.

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Some MPs are running broke after lending financial institutions increased their monthly deductions significantly to recover their loans before the term of the current Parliament ends on August 7. Stung by the reality that this year's elections will not be extended, several banks last month reviewed loan repayment schedules and condensed the months between August 8 and March 4, 2017, pushing the huge burden to MPs who must now clear their loans before Election Day. Worse still, banks have set July 8 as the last month for loan repayment for MPs to avert worst case scenarios where those who won't make it back to the August House may disappear and default on the loans. Some of the MPs, who do not run any business and just depend on their salaries, have been grumbling that the new shift in policy by banks will hurt them during the campaigns as they may lack enough resources to challenge their opponents. This came as a shocker for MPs who are now pushing for settlement of their severance pay to cover the months cut off from their five-year term.

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A senior State House operative is a worried man after President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly told him that he should consider plunging into elective politics because he won't be guaranteed reappointment if Jubilee wins the August 8 election. The key figure, who is also an adviser to the President on some matters, lost elections in the 2013 polls despite campaigning vigorously for Jubilee, prompting the President to come to his aid with the plum appointment. The operative, who is said to have cultivated thorns and spikes along his way, has found it difficult to rejoin politics because the ground has not shifted yet and the incumbent is a strong candidate. The staunch supporter of the President has reportedly been pleading with Uhuru to allow him continue with his work and should Jubilee lose at the ballot then he would exit from his post. For now he is confident that Jubilee will trounce NASA and there is reason for him to hung onto his seat without taking risks in joining Jubilee.

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