Raila Odinga is planning to back a Kikuyu candidate for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in 2022 with a Luo as a running mate while William Ruto is shopping for a Luhya for the same seat with a Kamba as second in command.
The current holder, Mike Sonko, a Kamba, has kept many guessing over his next move following hostilities he is receiving from certain quarters within the ruling Jubilee party. The move by Raila is said to be part of his wider strategy in a calculation to have Central province back Building Bridges Initiative, his brainchild with Uhuru Kenyatta
Already, BBI report presented to Uhuru last Thursday has elicited a lot of political heat, bringing face -to-face the two factions within the ruling party Jubilee – Kieleweke and Tangatanga and thus on a political collision course with the opposition looking on either side of the political divide.
It is being whispered the report has proposed the introduction of a parliamentary system of government with a powerful prime minister and two deputies.
The president, according to leaked information from BBI secretariat, will remain the head of government and the commander-in-chief of defence forces with the PM elected by parliament from the party that wins majority seats.
For regional balance, the team wants president, deputy president, the prime minister and the two deputies spread across Kenya’s tribes.
The team wants cabinet ministers appointed from MPs and ministerial positions given to regions that miss presidency and PM offices.
Raila, sources say, is convinced that a Kikuyu-Luo joint ticket for the city seat will secure victory, given that there are about 900,000 Kikuyu registered voters and about 400,000 Luo voters in the capital. Hence, a joint ticket will have a headstart of about 1.3 million votes.
Moreover, Raila is of the view that the political dynamics in Nairobi influence the voting pattern in Mount Kenya region, and for this reason, he stands to reap big if he rallies behind a Kikuyu for the most lucrative governor’s seat in the country.
On the other hand, Ruto is convinced that the Luhya community, whose votes in Nairobi are in excess of 600,000, will vote for their man and together with the Kamba votes, the ticket will claim victory. The deputy president is convinced that half of the Kikuyu voters in Nairobi will back his candidate.
That Ruto wants the Luhya city vote in 2022 is well seen in his decision to back footballer Macdonald Mariga, a Luhya in Kibra by-election. Ruto strategy is that if he wins Luhya Nairobi backing, it will trickle to the vote rich Western province in which the community is dominant.
Insiders add that Raila is considering backing one of the following for the seat. They are former Kenya National Congress presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia and Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda. It is being said that Raila strategists are aware of Ngatia’s campaign strategy that saw him land KNCCI presidency and his city network is enormous and tight.
Kenneth or PK as he is popularly known contested for the seat as an independent candidate in the 2017 polls but lost to Sonko.
PK who hails from Murang’a county is repackaging himself after being in political cold for some time. He is a member of the Kieleweke team, a faction in Jubilee party that is opposed to Ruto taking over from Uhuru come 2022 general election.
The former KNC leader contested for the presidency in the March 2013 as an also-run. He would go silent for some four years only to resurface in the year 2017 with the intention of succeeding Evans Kidero who was then the Nairobi county governor. He joined Jubilee Party only to be walloped by Sonko during the party primaries.
To demonstrate his closeness to Kenneth, Raila attended the former Gatanga MP mother’s funeral and was met with loud applause after urging Uhuru, who was present, to give the former assistant minister a job in his government.
For Dennis Waweru, he was left in political cold after losing to former TV clown John Kiarie, popularly known as KJ, in the Dagoretti South Jubilee parliamentary primaries ahead of the 2017 polls.
Waweru was among a handful of individuals who lost in the last general election that were awarded plum parastatal jobs as board directors and board members.
In what was seen as a tactical move in calming the storm that has brewed and hovered within Central Kenya, Uhuru in a Gazette Notice dated May 3 2019 appointed and re-appointed key figures to balance out the scales.
Prior to the 2017 general election, Waweru had declared interest to contest for the gubernatorial seat but chickened out, perhaps on advice of his political strategists for better things to come. The race had then attracted Waweru, then city senator Sonko and then TNA nominated MP Johnson Sakaja.
For Kabogo, sources say Raila believes his bid for the Nairobi governor’s seat will translate into votes for him.
Kabogo has not hidden his disdain for Ruto, whom he accuses of rigging him out during the Jubilee primaries for the Kiambu gubernatorial seat.
The former Kiambu county chief has also been silently scheming to become the next Mount Kenya political kingpin once Uhuru exits the presidency.
He has wormed his way to Raila, and according to sources, is preparing a war kitty to either go for the city gubernatorial seat or presidential running mate.
Ngatia is also feared due to his deep pockets and untainted past.
Ngatia was elected KNCCI president unopposed after all his competitors withdrew from the race and backed his bid. He assumed office on June 8, this year.
Ngatia is a close ally of Uhuru and since his election as KNCCI boss; he has been drumming up support for the March 9 2018 handshake between the president and the former prime minister. He is also close to Ruto, which somehow complicates matters for him.
In the KNCCI polls, Ngatia mounted a spirited campaign including eventful launch of his manifesto in which he promised to set up a Special Chamber Fund to help small and medium enterprises remain afloat and many Nairobians will welcome his bid to run for the seat given his astute managerial acumen.
For the last three years, Ngatia served as the chairman of KNCCI Nairobi chapter.
Last on Raila’s lineup is Kamanda, who is said to have enrolled for another degree course in readiness to contesting the gubernatorial seat.
Kamanda, the long serving MP and councillor has a well-established grassroots network in all the constituencies in Nairobi and will receive the backing of the Nairobi voters who trace their roots in Murang’a.
They include thousands of hawkers and other small scale traders, hundreds of residents of informal settlements and tycoons. For long, the control of city politics has rotated between Murang’a and Kiambu.
But Ruto is not sleeping and wants to field a Luhya with a Kamba as his running mate.
Recently, the DP challenged the Luhya political leadership to walk the talk in their calls for a united community by standing with the Jubilee Party candidate for the Kibra by-election, footballer Mariga.
The DP who hit out at Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, claiming the two leaders had failed in their quest to unite the community politically and he had set a stage for them to realise that dream by supporting Mariga, a notion that was rubbished by both Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
Speaking during the requiem mass for Adelaide Shikanga, the wife of former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale, Ruto said he wanted to meet with Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
Mudavadi who steered clear of the proposal maintained that his name would be on the ballot box come 2022, saying he was the ideal candidate to replace Uhuru.
Ruto, according to sources, is using the Kibra by-election as a barometer to gauge how the Luhyas will vote in the 2022 polls.
In 2013, Raila rallied behind Kidero who emerged the winner, defeating now embattled Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu.