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Kuja polepole! Pressure mounts on Sakaja

By Winnie Onyando December 24th, 2022 2 min read

Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja is facing a hard time balancing the interests of various stakeholders  four months after assuming office.

While a section of the stakeholders have publicly backed him, others, and including Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) attached to his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party have of late consistently critiqued him.

Here are some of the challenges Sakaja has faced.

1.Public spat with DP Gachagua – The DP Rigathi publicly asked Sakaja to ‘go slow’ on key decisions that could hurt city traders from his Mount Kenya region.

Said Gachagua at a public event: “We are the ones who chose him. I sat down with voters from Mount Kenya and asked them to vote for him (in the August 2022 polls). Some of the decisions he is making are likely to spoil businesses in Nairobi so we must sit and agree on them.”

Gachagua was reacting to Sakaja’s move to direct that long-distance public service vehicles vacate the Central Business District (CBD) and operate from the new Green Park bus terminus as a way of decongesting and bringing order to the city centre.

2. Legal battles – governor’s move to eject nightclubs from residential areas was received by mixed reactions.

Although President William Ruto publicly supported the move, bar owners termed the decision as counterproductive.

Consequently, the Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BHALITA) termed the county government’s decision as unfair that could lead to loss of jobs and business and sought a court interpretation on the matter.

3.Matatu menace – A day after Gachagua told him to go slow, Githunguri lawmaker Gathoni Wamuchomba also warned the governor against making decisions that could affect public service vehicles.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, Wamuchomba, accused the governor of evicting some Public Service Vehicles that use certain locations as dropping and picking points for decades and replacing them with others.

The long-distance matatus, however, got a reprieve after the High Court temporarily stopped their move.

4. Tiff with MCAs – Sakaja has also attracted criticism from Members of the County Assembly affiliated to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Nairobi.

The MCAs have vowed to boycott plenary sittings in protest over the governor recent appointments.

They are accusing the governor of favouring the Azimio la Umoja side in his recent appointments.

“We want the governor to decide whether he will work with the Azimio side or UDA that sponsored him,” said Minority Leader Antony Kiragu.

5. CEC nominees stand-off – The association of Muslim Lawyers and the Nubian rights forum recently filed a petition to challenge Sakaja’s CEC nominees.

The case affected the vetting and swearing-in of the CECs.

The lobbyists challenged the list of nominees, terming it as discriminatory as no individual from the Islam group was shortlisted.

The case was however dismissed, paving way for their swearing-in.

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