Talk of Nairobi’s governor seat dominates Kijana Wamalwa’s memorial
The race for the Nairobi governorship dominated the memorial ceremony of former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa.
Key opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula — also ODM principals— gave the event a wide berth.
Politicians from Nairobi and central Kenya supporting Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa took advantage of the event to pitch his bid to unseat Governor Evans Kidero next year.
Tellingly, there were no calls for Luhya unity which dominated previous memorial ceremonies as the Wamalwa team took issue with former speaker Kenneth Marende, for declaring an interest in the post.
“The team that we are confident will take charge of Nairobi is that of Eugene Wamalwa and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru,” declared Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Central Kenya leaders assured the community that they would rally behind Mr Wamalwa to demonstrate that they can vote for a non-Kikuyu.
“We want a partnership that will see us take charge of Nairobi. We will definitely deliver this seat despite resistance from those claiming to be the owners of the city,” said Embakasi Central MP John Ndirangu.
Bishop Wanjiru, a former Starehe MP, asked for more time to consult Nairobi residents after she was challenged to agree with Mr Wamalwa on who between them should run for governor.
“Let me consult my supporters just like Mr Wamalwa has consulted his. All I know is that we will reach an agreement,” she said.
Key Luhya leaders including Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula and Amani National Congress’ Musalia Mudavadi skipped the event. They had earlier indicated they were committed.
Some Jubilee leaders who have declared interest in the seat were also conspicuously absent.
Governors Ken Lusaka (Bungoma) and Moses Akaranga (Vihiga), MPs David Wafula (Saboti), Ayub Savula (Lugari), John Waluke (Sirisia) and John Bunyasi Bunyasi (Nambale) declared their support for Mr Wamalwa’s stab at the governorship.
ENEMY OF COMMUNITY
“Any Luhya who is opposed to Mr Wamalwa’s bid is an enemy of the community. He is qualified to be in charge of the capital city’s economy,” said Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.
Mr Wamalwa welcomed the move by the community, saying he is equal to the task and asked them to support his bid, which he said was better than supporting the opposition.
“What we are doing is a continuation of Kijana’s Wamalwa legacy, which was nationalistic. He wanted us to be in government and to unite with other communities,” he said.
Some speakers dismissed talk that Cord leader Raila Odinga might sacrifice his presidential ambitions in favour of Mr Mudavadi, saying it was a ploy to dupe the community into voting for him.