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Last minute talks end Nairobi lineup stalemate

Polycarp Igathe will now fly the coalition’s flag and will be deputised by ex Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki

In Summary

•Initially, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi was to deputise Igathe according to a deal negotiated at State House on Wednesday evening.

•The plan was however abandoned after Wanyonyi refused to play second fiddle to the cooperative honcho.

Azimio La Umoja Nairobi governor candidate Polycarp Igathe at KICC on April 22, 2022.
Azimio La Umoja Nairobi governor candidate Polycarp Igathe at KICC on April 22, 2022.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Last minute talks on the delicate Nairobi lineup saved the situation for the Nairobi Azimio team ahead of the August polls.

The stalemate on the lineup was providing fodder to the rival camp which had long agreed on joint candidates for the city battle.

A three-hour meeting on Friday chaired by ODM leader Raila Odinga and attended by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka ended the stalemate that would see Azimio parties presenting parallel sets of candidates.

The deal ends months of confusion amongst Azimio supporters in the city.

Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe will now fly the coalition’s flag and will be deputised by ex Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki.

Initially, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi was to deputise Igathe according to a deal negotiated at State House on Wednesday evening.

The plan was however abandoned after Wanyonyi refused to play second fiddle to the cooperative honcho.

The lineup announced by Raila flanked by Kalonzo also has ODM secretary general Edwin  Sifuna as the Azimio candidate for the Nairobi senate seat.

In what appears to be a give and take among Jubilee, Wiper and ODM, the Orange party will also field the candidate for Woman Representative.

Kalonzo seems to have negotiated his way to the apex of the county’s leadership.

Kaloki is a close confidant of the Wiper leader and it is Kalonzo who convinced him to withdraw from the Makueni governor race and negotiated for him the city top post.

In the arrangement, Esther Passaris was named the Azimio candidate for the position Woman Representative position.

Passaris was first elected to the position in 2017 on an ODM ticket.

Under the deal, the Speaker of Assembly once constituted will go to ODM.

“We have handed over the baton to this team and we are sure they are going to bring victory to our party,” Raila said.

Even though Raila announced that Wanyonyi, one of the front runners for the county top seat agreed to step down for Igathe, it however appeared that the lawmaker was forced to drop his bid.

In what confirmed a man forced into submission, a dejected Wanyonyi left KICC – the venue of the press conference with supporters in tow moments before the press briefing.

“As we know there were other members of our coalition who had expressed interest to be the governor, one of them is Timothy Wanyonyi. He has decided to step down from the governor race and instead will recontest his Westlands MP seat,” Raila said.

Earlier, Ngati and Wanyonyi addressed a joint press briefing at Serena where they agreed to support Igathe.

They said they supported the decision of the Azimio la Umoja Coalition principals.

“The people of Nairobi will elect their chosen leader,” Wanyonyi told journalists.

The ODM boss said Richard Ngatia had agreed to shelve his bid and will now be appointed as President Uhuru’s special envoy on matters of trade.

Ngatia is the immediate former President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Raila said Azimio parties also agreed to field candidates in all the Nairobi’s 17 constituencies.

He was confident the team unveiled on Friday will deliver most of the Nairobi seats to Azimio.

“We are sure they are going to bring victory to our party, we are going to campaign as a team,” he said.

The last minute meeting at Kenyatta International Convention Center was attended by a majority of aspirants who had expressed interest in the county seats.

Polycarp Igathe, Agnes Kagure, Richard Ngatia, Edwin Sifuna, MPs George Aladwa (Makadara), Yusuf Haji (Kamkunji), Antony Oluoch (Mathare) Gender CAS Beatrice Elachi were among those present.

Conspicuously missing were nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu.

Kamanda and Kananu had expressed interest in the Nairobi senate and governor seats respectively.

Speaking to the Star on phone, Kamanda welcomed the new line up saying his focus is now on Raila winning the presidency.

Sifuna thanked the Azimio leadership for settling on him to fly the Azimio Senate flag vowing to deliver the seat.

“To my supporters in Nairobi, I am truly humbled by the love and support before and during this campaign. I am now asking for a chance to be the vocal champion of your interests in the Senate,” Sifuna said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

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