Deputy President William Ruto’s shadow looms large behind Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa’s bid to run for the Nairobi governor seat in next year’s election.
Mr Ruto met the Nairobi County Assembly Jubilee leadership at his office two months ago to discuss ways of mobilising support for Mr Wamalwa.
The meeting, it was learnt, was attended by Deputy Minority Leader Patrick Ngaruiya, Minority Whip Hashim Kamau, Deputy Minority Whip Michael Wainaina and the county’s only elected Jubilee MCA, Ms Millicent Mugadi.
A source who attended the meeting disclosed that it was resolved that the MCAs start popularising Mr Wamalwa ahead of the big announcement.
“The decision was taken in May in Ruto’s office and there is no going back on it,” said the source, who sought anonymity for fear of upsetting the DP.
On Wednesday, Mr Kamau confirmed meeting the DP on numerous occasions but denied Mr Wamalwa’s candidature had been discussed.
Mr Wamalwa also hosted 63 Nairobi ward reps allied to Jubilee at his Nairobi home on Tuesday night to strategise on his campaign.
The meeting, it was learnt, was also attended by several western politicians including Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka.
INVITED FOR DINNER
“The MCAs were invited for dinner at his Spring Valley home in Lower Kabete last night. It was just a get-together. The dinner was also attended by MPs and former legislators from western,” said Mr Kamau.
“We Nairobi MCAs welcome anybody who wants to join Jubilee. We, however, agree it was wrong for Jubilee MPs from central to have endorsed Eugene. They should have left that to Nairobi MPs,” he added.
Mr Wamalwa’s endorsement had split the Jubilee coalition in Nairobi down the middle, with most ward reps backing him while MPs view him as Mr Ruto’s “political project”.
The legislators called their own strategy meeting at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday night where they vowed to support either Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko or Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja for governor.
“We know who is behind him but we are warning him that Nairobi will not entertain political projects from other regions,” said one of the MPs.
Former Cabinet minister Musikari Kombo, who is among those backing Mr Wamalwa’s candidacy, denied Mr Wamalwa was being fronted by anybody.
“Nobody is fronting Eugene. He is determined to run and is ready to face anybody on the Jubilee ticket,” said Mr Kombo.
Some governors and MPs from western also backed Mr Wamalwa and rubbished arguments that he was an “outsider”.
The leaders said the time had come for Mr Wamalwa to run for a top job.
They included Mr Lusaka, Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.