July 25th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Deadlock in Nairobi Jubilee house over Sonko running mate

Sonko has "made it clear" to Ms Wanjiru that she won't get the position. He has also reached out to outgoing Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, who was one of his main partners in 'Team Nairobi' that Sonko formed in a bid to defeat the entry of former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth into the primaries race.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 15 May 2017 10:08 EAT

(L-R): Ms Wanjiru, Mr Sonko (centre) and Jubilee Nairobi senatorial candidate Johnson Sakaja during the campaign under the 'Team Nairobi' coalition.

Nairobi senator Mike Sonko has considered six top politicians from the city and technocrats from Central Kenya as he struggles to name a governorship running mate but has not made up his mind about his choice.

The mercurial senator had promised to hand over the position to former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru and had even inked a memorandum of understanding with the former bishop over the same, but he got out of the deal after Ms Wanjiru ran against him in the party primaries, saying the deal only applied if Ms Wanjiru had supported him.

According to sources close the senator, Mr Sonko has discussed the running mate position with Ms Wanjiru and "made it clear" that she won't get the role in his administration. He has also reached out to outgoing Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, who was one of his main partners in 'Team Nairobi' that Sonko formed in a bid to defeat the entry of former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth into the primaries race.

According to the source, Mr Waweru is the senator's preferred running mate, with Sonko reasoning that the two already know each other well, having collaborated during the pre-nomination campaigns and other Jubilee initiatives in Nairobi. The MP also meets Mr Sonko's preference that his running mate be endorsed by the business community, of which Mr Waweru is a key member.

However, there are other opinions in the party, believed to be opposed to Mr Waweru, pushing Sonko to appoint a woman, with the name of a former parastatal chief making the rounds. The proposal has been made by key advisers who are helping Sonko spruce up his image as a responsible leader Nairobians can trust.

Those pushing this line expect Jubilee to use it to win the women vote, by making the woman part of a list of Jubilee female gubernatorial aspirants and running mates. "The thinking among this group is that the tribal vote is exhausted and the party needs to reach out to other demographics. The women vote is a good bet against a governor who has physically assaulted a woman leader in the past," said the senator's handler, agreeing with the proposal.

It is generally recognised that Mr Sonko will have a pre-election understanding, such as the one between Ferdinand Waititu and Dr James Nyoro in Kiambu County, that his running mate would have a mandate over the running of the bureacracy, going beyond the constitutional role of deputy governors as deputising the governor.

Among those Mr Sonko has also considered for the position include Nairobi businessman Jimnah Mbaru and former Vision 2013 secretariat director Mugo Kebati.

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