TONY MBALLA: Political fights stalling service delivery in Nairobi

Minority whip Mark Mugambi says pressing issues need to be urgently resolved.

In Summary

• Mugambi has since urged all of the combatants to be prepared to accept whatever decision the court system may ultimately reach.

• He echoed Sakaja's fears that any furfure disputes will likely stall county service delivery.

Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Mark Mugambi and Minority leader Antony Kiragu addressing the media on January 24.
Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Mark Mugambi and Minority leader Antony Kiragu addressing the media on January 24.

Nairobi county's minority whip Mark Mugambi has recounted the events that took place at a two-day retreat that Governor Johnson Sakaja hosted in Naivasha over the weekend.

The retreat, which began on Friday, was attended by a group of city MCAs from various political parties, members of the county executive committee and top administrators from numerous agencies.

In an exclusive interview with the Star on Sunday, the youthful politician said Sakaja requested the meeting to address issues that have bedeviled the county in recent weeks.

"Unless the pressing issues are urgently resolved, Sakaja will not experience a plain sailing term in office. Such a situation could jeopardise service delivery in the county," Mugambi said.

He spoke about the nation's growing political temperatures and how it threatens to further polarise the Opposition and the ruling party at both levels of government.

"The leadership of Azimio la Umoja is uneasy about the prospect of the Jubilee Party breaking away and forming a partnership with Kenya Kwanza," Mugambi said.

"We expect a beehive of activities in the coming week that will result in several heartbreaks and jubilations depending on one's political inclination."

Mugambi has since urged all of the combatants to be prepared to accept whatever decision the court system may ultimately reach.

He echoed Sakaja's fears that any future disputes will likely stall county service delivery. This, according to him, informed the Naivasha retreat.

"A court case is still pending, and the result will undoubtedly change the local political landscape.

"If Jubilee deserts Azimio, the leadership of the county assembly is likely to alter especially in Kenya Kwanza's favour. All we are asking is for everyone to respect the eventuality," Mugambi said.

A ruckus broke out at the Jubilee headquarters when a faction led by former Kieni MP Kanini Kega sent a letter to a group linked to retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, denouncing the National Delegates Convention (NDC) set for March 24 and 25.

On February 10, the Kega faction held a meeting and declared that former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni had been ejected from his role as secretary general.

Jubilee Party chairman Nelson Dzuya wrote and signed the letter.

“Your purported notice of an NDC to be held on March 24 and 25, 2023 is irregular and in breach of our party Constitution. I urge you to correct the indiscretion… and avoid the usurpations of powers that do not inherently attach to yourself as per our party Constitution.”

In addition to the Registrar of Political Parties, the letter was copied to every member of the National Executive Committee.

The attempted coup sparked a fierce conflict between the two camps, exposing the former ruling party's underbelly.

Within a few days of Kioni issuing an advert in a local newspaper alerting the party to the NDC, the Kega-allied group sprang into action.

Kega was assigned Kioni's duties temporarily, while Sabina Chege, a nominee for the position of MP, was given David Murathe's duties as vice chairman.

Since then, Kioni has vowed to battle tenaciously for the Jubilee Party to purge its elected officials who have been 'bought off' by the government.

"Those with a price are free to travel to the political black market, which now resides in State House, and all you need to do to be bought is go to the gates holding up a sign proclaiming your price."

Kioni claimed that the government had taken over the office of the Registrar of Political Parties, which is why, upon recognising that Jubilee was being ripped apart, decided to seek redress before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT).

"The Jubilee Party is taking disciplinary action against each of the people speaking because of the legal action we took, but State House wants to help them go around the law and give them a full pass."

The Azimio la Umoja partnership has had trouble keeping the Jubilee Party's rogue supporters in check.

President William Ruto hosted former and present Jubilee members of Parliament on January 24.

The meeting at State House was held hours before the scheduled political rally organised by Azimio leader Raila Odinga at the Kamukunji grounds.

The purpose of the meeting, according to Kanini Kega, was to address the completion of development projects that had been started by the previous administration and the unification of the Mount Kenya region.

"The present administration is eager to finish the vast number of projects that the previous administration had began," Kega said.

"We also used the opportunity to apologise to one another for their campaign-related name-calling and insults."

Kega claimed that some people were making too much of the gathering and that they had no intention of joining Kenya Kwanza as had been suggested.

Nairobi Assembly Majority Leader and Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok, who attended the retreat in Naivasha over the weekend, reaffirmed his desire to thwart any attempts to sow discord within the political group.

"We are aware of what is happening in the background. We will thwart any attempts to undermine Azimio because this is unacceptable," Imwatok stated.

In his opinion, Mugambi pointed out that the tension has reached a fever pitch judging by the absence of key figures from the Kenya Kwanza leadership who gave the meeting a wide berth.

"The whole of the Azimio leadership attended the retreat, but I was the only Kenya Kwanza leader there. Kiragu, the minority leader, also snubbed the meeting," Mugambi said.

Mugambi has meanwhile encouraged Governor Sakaja to roll out services to city residents as soon as feasible.

"We are pleased that the governor has finally appointed his Cabinet. We now anticipate that his administration will operate smoothly and set the stage for the regular restart of the services that had paused."

Mugambi voiced worry that the ongoing delays in service delivery will likely hurt their future political aspirations.

"The electorate wants to see us get going quickly. Since being elected in August, we have been unable to launch projects.

Mugambi, affectionately referred to by his loving supporters as Ronaldo, won re-election as MCA for Umoja 1 for a second term under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) platform.

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