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February 20, 2019

Corridors of Power

Opposition Leader Raila Odinga.
Opposition Leader Raila Odinga.

HAS the swearing-in of NASA leader Raila Odinga (pictured) as the “People’s President” set a precedent in this country? A running mate in the Nyeri gubernatorial election, Cocorico Githinji, recently declined to bow to pressure from a section of area residents to take an oath as “the People’s Governor”. Githinji, who was the running mate of former Governor Samuel Wamathai, has urged the locals to instead focus on supporting current governor Mutahi Kahiga, who was also a running mate to the late Wahome Gakuru, in propelling the county to prosperity. Are Kenyans emulating Raila!

A governor who recently lost a petition is under siege. After being advised by his lawyers that an appellate court is unlikely to overturn a recent High Court ruling, he has refused to go back to his county. His spouse and associates are collecting millions from contractors and withdrawing millions of shillings as imprest from the county coffers, claiming the money will be used to finance the appeal. Fearful employees have alerted EACC officials, who have now camped at the county headquarters. The ex-governor has stage-managed demonstrations in Nairobi and the county, accusing the former governor of corruption. However, residents have termed the move laughable and are now eagerly awaiting a by-election.

A question that lingers in most people’s minds is whether there is unity of purpose between the Environment ministry and the National Environment Management Authority. The latest instance is when Nema Director General Geoffrey Wahungu delayed a planned joint media briefing at the Environment ministry for over an hour, despite having confirmed attendance. The planned briefing on the progress of the implementation of the plastic carrier bags ban had been scheduled to kick off at 10am, but was delayed for an hour, with Environment and Forestry PS Charles Sunkuli having to wait. The visibly upset PS had to go ahead and read his statement without Wahungu.

A former MP from Nyanza almost caused a stir at a high-end hotel in Nairobi on Monday night. Having of late morphed into a serious wheeler-dealer in town, he loudly claimed that a by-election is imminent in his home constituency. It was not clear how the vocal politician came to the conclusion that the case he filed challenging the election of the current MP would succeed or it was just bravado. “It is only a matter of time before we go for a by-election, I swear we shall go back to the ballot,” he said with such gusto that he surprised revellers. Well, maybe the former MP has turned into a prophet. Only time will tell.

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