• Residents say they want a governor who intermingles freely with ordinary people
• Notably, Waweru lost the parliamentary seat to a lightweight, John Kiarie.
Since the IEBC announced the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election will be held on February 18, I have listened to the views of a cross-section of city residents.
The majority, including supporters of Deputy President William Ruto, argue that the Jubilee Party stands a high chance of retaining the seat following the impeachment of Mike Sonko. However, this can only happen if the party goes back to the drawing board and nominates a strong candidate.
For now, they think the ruling party has fronted a weak nominee in Dennis Waweru. The former Dagoretti MP cannot beat former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of the United Democratic Party, which is associated with DP Ruto. She is an ally of the DP.
They say Waweru’s weakness is being aloof. He is also ‘arrogant’, they say. “We want a governor who intermingles freely with ordinary people”.
Notably, he lost the parliamentary seat to a lightweight, John Kiarie.
If not Wanjiru, the talk is rife that DP allies can pick former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo. You cannot underrate Kabogo’s popularity among the Kikuyus living in city. I, however, doubt the DP brigade will back him as other dominant communities and in particular the Luo and the Luhya are unlikely to support his candidature. This is because of his previous political standings that had exposed him as an ethnic kingpin and a fierce critic of ODM leader Raila Odinga.
As a diehard supporter of President Uhuru Kenyatta — with no apologies to make for championing the interests of the Kikuyus — he at one point rubbed the DP and his allies the wrong way when he said the Kikuyu community would not support Ruto blindly. This, certainly, created suspicion and mistrust that is hard to undo.
Given this scenario, you would not expect the DP and his allies to front him to succeed Mike Sonko.
Who is a strong candidate then? The people I listened to say Peter Kenneth backed by Philip Kisia as his running mate.
Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a political analyst and blogger