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TNA to hold crisis talks on Mathare seat

The method to be used to pick a candidate for the Mathare by-election is troubling The National Alliance (TNA).

The party is in a quandry over whether it should give former MP George Mike Wanjohi a direct ticket or subject him to a nomination process.

The dilemma has necessitated a crisis meeting tomorrow under the joint chairmanship of national party chairman Johnson Sakaja and Starehe MP Maina Kamanda.

“All city party MPs, MCAs in Mathare and county party officials will attend the meeting to strategise. We are receiving demands from party members, and we shall weigh all of them,” said Mr Kamanda.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission set the by-election for June 3 after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi declared the seat vacant despite an application for stay filed by Mr Wanjohi at the Supreme Court.

Mr Kamanda admitted there was pressure not to give a direct ticket unlike in Othaya Constituency where Mary Wambui received one.

“The leaders will decide the mode of choosing the candidate. One of the major points of discussion will be the prospects of Mr Wanjohi’s candidature. We must recapture this seat,” Mr Kamanda said in an interview.

On Friday, TNA’s only two county assembly members in Mathare Andrew Macharia (Mlango Kubwa) and James Kinuthia (Kiamaiko) hinted at a possible backlash if Mr Wanjohi is given a direct ticket.

“We are clear that a direct ticket to anyone will fail. The process of choosing the most popular candidate for the party must be done,” said Mr Macharia.

Mr Kinuthia said supporters in his ward which Mr Wanjohi represented as councillor for 10 years are ready to support whoever TNA chooses.

As they spoke, Mr Edward Kahos Kahuthia, declared his interest in the seat.

“I have announced my interest. The party should let us square it out and whoever wins must be supported by all,” said Mr Kahuthia at Mlango Kubwa.

This week party members led by Francis Mwangi  and Ruaraka branch chairman Maina Irungu made a whirlwind tour of Kiamaiko and Huruma wards to drum support for TNA ahead of the election.

Eighteen women’s groups in Kiamaiko told Mr Mwangi’s team they were rooting for a nomination process.

Ms Margaret Muthoni, the chairlady of Eighteen Sisters Women Group in Kiamaiko, said, “We want someone to stand on his own. We want a fresh face. If TNA cannot give us a fresh and young name, we can assure you our opponents will beat us.”

It is such sentiments that have caused disquiet in TNA. Mr Wanjohi has spent the whole year battling with his rival in court.

He had said earlier: “I have fought the battle to retain the seat in various courts alone. The party must now help me defend the seat.”

On Saturday, efforts to reach Mr Wanjohi were futile because he is out of the country.

Arithmetically, Cord has an edge over TNA in Mathare. In the last elections, Cord took four of the six wards, while Cord leader Raila Odinga beat President Kenyatta of Jubilee by 7,000 votes.

Cord has settled on Stephen Kariuki who got a reprieve after the court nullified Mr Wanjohi’s election.