The race for Nairobi governorship is taking a new twist, with an attempt to bring Jimnah Mbaru andFerdinand Waititu into an agreement ahead of March 4 General Election.
The move is meant to avoid looming triumphant by Raila Odinga-led Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), which is seen to be ahead in county politics. Mbaru and Waititu told The Standard On Sunday they are willing to negotiate and accommodate each other, but at the same time asking one another to step down.
“I will welcome him to join my administration if he is ready to step aside,” said Mbaru who has, in the past days, intensified his door-door campaigns.
He said Nairobi residents are mature enough not to be drawn into tribal and political party affiliations, but instead are prepared enough to vote the right thinking leaders who can alleviate their bedeviling problems.
Mbaru of the Alliance Party of Kenya alias bus is seen to be gaining substantial bloc votes from middle class working in the city and those classified as minority groups including Muslims due to his running mate lawyer Ibrahim Ahmed alias Johnny.
While Waititu said; “I am a peace maker who is always ready to negotiate and step down but Mbaru should be honest to fight the race another day but not now”.
The immediate former Embakasi MP said he defeated Mbaru during The National Alliance (TNA) nominations and that the influential businessmen-cum politician should swallow his pride and support his quest.
Earlier on, one of the campaigners for Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee Alliance in Nairobi, Kevin Malinga, told The Standard On Sunday that they are on the drawing board working on how to reconcile the two politicians and consolidate their voting bloc.
“We need to get a winning team otherwise we will terribly lose the battle in Nairobi,” disclosed Malinga. He said the Jubilee Alliance must work round the clock to come-up with a formidable formula to win the city race.
With barely two weeks to the polls, an opinion poll by Ipsos Synovate commissioned by The Standard Group earlier in the week, showed the race as a close contest between ODM’s Evans Kidero (CORD) and Waititu.
The poll showed, Dr Kidero, former CEO of Mumias Sugar, would secure 40 per cent of the votes, while Waititu would come second with 37 per cent. Investmentmagnate Jimnah Mbaru, who was trounced by Waititu in the TNA primaries before decamping to Alliance Party of Kenya, is trailing with 10 per cent. Stakes are high, with the city governor’s position seen in political circles as the ‘most powerful elective position outside the presidency’.
“The race is tight between the top two front-runners and it can go either way. Chances of Mbaru recovering if he lost in the primaries fairly are generally low,” says Prof Munene Macharia of United States International University Kenya. The professor of History and International Relations, says the outcome of the race will be depend on the input one puts in the campaign.
Head of Political Science at the University of Nairobi Dr Adams Oloo concurs with Macharia, saying it is not yet a done deal as two weeks in politics is a long period.
“It will largely depend on the last push and the influence of the CORD and Jubileepresidential candidates in their final rallies in Nairobi,” added Oloo.
CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his Jubilee counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta will pitch camp in Nairobi on the last day of campaigns.
It has almost become a tradition for presidential candidates to either hold their rallies at the historic Uhuru Park or at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi where they pack the venues with supporters in a demonstration of might and numbers.