INTRIGUES

Inside Uhuru, Raila mega plan to market Igathe in Nairobi

In Summary
  • Soon after State House meeting, Igathe, accompanied by several MCAs, hit the roads with several stopovers in the city.
  • He started his campaigns in the city centre before making stopovers in Kasarani, Roysambu and Kayole corner.
Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe.
Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe.
Image: File
For now we have shelved our personal ground campaigns to try to popularise Igathe’s bid. We [MCAs] will make sure that he finds footing on the ground
Nairobi assembly Majority whip Paul Kados 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM chief Raila Odinga have rallied their troops in Nairobi to mount a rigorous campaign for governor aspirant Polycarp Igathe.

The Azimio bosses, together with Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka, have directed MPs and MCAs allied to their coalition to suspend their campaigns for a month and sell Igathe to city residents.

Igathe is to be the coalition’s city governor candidate after a deal brokered by the President on Tuesday.

In the deal, which has triggered a storm in the coalition and dashed the hopes of several aspirants, Igathe will be deputised by former Kibwezi MP Philip Kaluki, a close ally of Kalonzo.

Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, who was ODM’s sole aspirant for the seat, has been relegated to the Senate, a position that was initially targeted by party secretary general Edwin Sifuna.

Sifuna will now run for Westlands MP, instead, according to insiders.

Vocal national leaders will also be roped in, with Uhuru and Raila expected to drum up support for Igathe "at an appropriate time".

On Wednesday morning, the President met at least three Jubilee MPs in the city and the leadership of the Nairobi county assembly at a closed-door meeting at State House and instructed them to "take Igathe to the people".

“I have been in meetings with the President for the past few days and as our party, we have to heed his instructions and that is why we have brought out Igathe to the ground,” Majority leader Abdi Guyo said.

“Our party leader officially unleashed us to campaign in February and we came to sell the agenda for Nairobi and face our opponents head-on."

Assembly Majority whip Paul Kados said they have suspended their campaigns to walk with the former deputy governor.

“For now we have shelved our personal ground campaigns to try to popularise Igathe’s bid. We [MCAs] will make sure that he finds footing on the ground,” he said.

Yesterday, Nairobi ODM chairman and Makadara MP George Aladwa and Nairobi assembly minority whip Peter Imwatok said they were still waiting for Raila’s signal on the coalition’s candidate before they hit the road.

“We are loyal to our party leader and we are alive to the fact that we are in a coalition. If we are told that is the person they have settled on, we will have no otherwise but to hit the road running,” Aladwa said.

I am not late. It is just 12 weeks to the election and elections in Kenya are critical three months to the D-day. But we campaign every day here
Polycarp Igathe

Soon after the State House meeting, Igathe, accompanied by several MCAs, hit the road, with several stopovers in the city.

He started his campaigns in the city centre before making stopovers in Kasarani, Roysambu and Kayole corner.

He was expected to officially unveil his bid at Kayole North Primary School where Guyo, Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan and a number of MP and MCA aspirants had assembled a huge crowd.

However, he did not show up. The aspirants said he had been delayed by the stopovers.

“We want leadership that is focused. We have five million people and we want a proven leader. A leader who is experienced and tested,” Hassan said at the rally.

“Jubilee is up and ready to take the Nairobi leadership. Let’s not squander this chance. Let’s elect Igathe.”

Speaking soon after he was picked to fly the coalition’s flag in the city, Igathe said he was optimistic that he will get the Jubilee ticket.

“I am not President Uhuru Kenyatta’s project and neither I’m I being propelled by him. I am a project of Nairobi residents and above all, I am a project of God,” he said.

Despite his sudden announcement, Igathe said the last three months are the most crucial in a general election.

“I am not late. It is just 12 weeks to the election and elections in Kenya are critical three months to the D-day. But we campaign every day here," he said.

Speaking to the Star, Guyo dismissed the claim that Igathe is non-starter in the race.

He said the former Vivo Energy CEO traversed the city with Mike Sonko in 2017.

“Igathe is a young and promising leader who will transform Nairobi. He does not come with any baggage. We do not want people who are dirty and have Kemsa blood on their hands and people who are not learned,” Guyo said.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya

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