Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 22 May 2017 12:21 EATjmwihaki@kenyafreepress.com
While a majority of the Nairobians are believed to belong to either of the two largest coalitions (NASA and Jubilee), former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth has launched his independent candidature for the position with optimism that he will beat both the Jubilee nominee Mike Sonko and incumbent governor Evans Kidero in the coming elections.
During a TV interview last night, Mr Kenneth told NTV’s Trevor Ombija that he was sure he will carry the day on August 8th when Nairobians vote for the governor. The interview gave a preview of the strategy Mr Kenneth will deploy to win the elections which show a two-throng effort: appealing to the Nairobians hungry for change from the incompetence and corruption of the Kidero regime while endearing himself to the Kikuyu community.
The NTV journalist asked Mr Kenneth whether he is a tribal candidate which he denied and explained that his reasons for running as an independent were primarily to restore the lost glory of Nairobi. But he also said that he will appoint a running mate from the Luyia tribe and get some votes from the community which forms Nairobi's largest vote bloc.
If the strategy works out, Mr Kenneth would get a vast majority of the Kikuyu votes and win over voters from all major communities disaffected by Mr Kidero and who would not like to vote for Mr Sonko. In this event, the Kamba community (and not the Kikuyu) would be the bedrock of Mr Sonko's support base, with slum dwellers from other communities who have received financial assistance from the many humanitarian missions the senator runs providing the candidate's other supporters. Mr Kidero then would remain with diehard ODM and NASA supporters.
The strategy depends on many suppositions that Mr Kenneth believes can apply at the same time. The first is that President Uhuru Kenyatta will rehabilitate him and other independent candidates and thereby send a message to his supporters that Mr Sonko was not the president's preferred governor for Nairobi.
Second is that his Luyia running mate would be strong enough and sway big chucks of his/her community's votes. In this score, he probably will need to work harder as his current proposed running mate (former footballer Dan Shikanda) is a long-time ODM member who would invite negative sentiment from the NASA coalition for defecting.
The third factor is how Mr Kenneth can successfully comouflage the increasingly debated notion that he was being pushed into power by a tribal elite intent on seeing him succeed President Kenyatta as the Kikuyu leader in 2022. The NTV journalist raised the same question but Mr Kenneth said he was his own man, moved only by his "passion" to improve the governance of Nairobi.
Some Kikuyu leaders including Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura yesterday told Mr Kenneth that the strategy can't work and the effect of his run would be to spoil Mr Sonko's chances and help Kidero win re-election. However, Mr Kidero, rather than sitting pretty, scathingly attacked Mr Kenneth for his ambitions, perhaps seeing that the candidate could eat into his votes.
Mr Kenneth insists that he did not lose but the nominations but that the process was a sham. He claimed yesterday that opposition supporters are the ones who provided the votes with which Mr Sonko beat him, saying in a general election it would be everyone for himself between him, Kidero and Sonko.
On his campaign strategy, he called Governor Kidero a failure and said that Sonko had to look for a cover up for his inability to manage Nairobi by looking for a qualified running mate, hence his own insistence to be on the race.
Regarding his manifesto, Kenneth said that he would clear the garbage in the county in 90 days and clear all the water cartels in the county since it is the main reason why people in the city lack water and spend much on it. He said he will ease jams within 18 months by building underpasses and having light rail systems in the city.
He said that Nairobi requires proper planning and management and bring about devolved functions, planning officers, enough fire engines, modern markets and garbage vehicles. He strongly believes that there are "reasonable Nairobians" who will vote for him.