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Ethnic bias claim rattles Mathare aspirants

Prospective TNA parliamentary candidates in Mathare constituency have warned a top party official against pursuing suggestions that a non-Kikuyu aspirant is preferred should the Supreme Court allow the by-election to go ahead.

On April 29, the country’s highest court is expected to either allow TNA’s George Wanjohi to continue as MP or uphold a Court of Appeal decision that nullified his election last month. 

Aspirants who have paid nomination fees accused TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja of suggesting that the party’s best option would be to get a non-Kikuyu to face off with Steven Kariuki of ODM.

Led by Mr Jackson Mwangi, the aspirants said they will not support any candidate picked through a biased process.

“The chairman has brought up the matter of a candidate from a certain community. This will be resisted. We are committed to going through the nominations and supporting the winner,” said Mr Mwangi.

He said the prospective candidates had each paid the required Sh200,000 fee to indicate their intention to take part in a fair nomination process. 

“A boardroom decision will backfire,” said Mr Mwangi at a press conference.

Another aspirant, Ndung’u wa Grace, said talk of sidelining any community would only divide party supporters. 

“TNA is our party. Members should decide on who will be the flagbearer. Anyone trying to lock us out does not understand the ground in Mathare,” said the former Huruma Ward Councillor.

Mr Gabriel Muthuma warned the party that trying to disenfranchise supporters will work against the party. 

“We are facing a more united rival. We must be kept together by transparency in party nominations,” said Mr Muthuma.

But Mr Sakaja said TNA is a national party that will support the candidate who is capable of winning the seat.

“We do not want to make a mistake. We are working hard and struggling on how to shore up our numbers,” he said.

Mr Sakaja denied he was rooting for anyone. 

“Some candidates paid last week and more are coming. We are not yet at the nomination stage so we cannot lock out anyone,” said the nominated MP.

So far, records show only four interested aspirants beat the April 11 deadline to show commitment. They are Mr Muthuma, Mr Mwangi, Mr wa Grace and TNA activist Samson Ojiayo.

Sources within TNA say the party is rooting for a candidate from Western in a bid to divide the ODM vote while still retaining the Jubilee support base.