How State House Fixed Peter Kenneth
KEY aides to President Uhuru Kenyatta abandoned Peter Kenneth at the last minute for Mike Sonko, after the Nairobi Senator threatened to unleash a sensitive dossier about them.
It is understood that Sonko has video and audio recordings of some “embarrassing activities” involving key people around the President.
“The tapes are damaging and, should Sonko release them, the Jubilee campaign would be shattered,” said a Jubilee Party official aware of the recordings.
The former Gatanga MP has resigned from Jubilee Party and will vie for Nairobi Governor at the August 8 General Election as an independent candidate.
Kenneth will battle it out with Sonko, incumbent Evans Kidero and Miguna Miguna.
Sonko has named Polycarp Igathe as his running mate, Kidero has retained Jonathan Mweke and Kenneth is expected to name former footballer Dan Shikanda as his number two.
Apparently President Kenyatta did not want Jubilee to conduct nominations in Nairobi and he preferred that Kenneth be candidate and Sonko his running mate.
The President’s position was supported by Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe and a team of powerful elders from Murang’a led by Maina Wanjigi, father of Jimmy Wanjigi.
But a week to the nominations things changed. Deputy President William Ruto, working with a number of State House officials, suddenly ditched Kenneth for Sonko after the latter had totally refused to step aside.
“Ruto saw the opportunity to fix Kenneth because of his 2022 ambitions. State House officials on the other hand were scared that their dealings with Sonko would be exposed,” a source known to be close to Sonko told the Star.
Yesterday Sonko denied having any tapes.
He said if anyone in State House supported him, then it’s the Nairobi voters who work there that voted for him at the nearby St George’s School polling station.
“That I have tapes is cheap propaganda. I have never recorded anyone and neither have I blackmailed anyone to support me. The President should not be dragged into this matter.
“The DP and other people have decided to support me because I won the Jubilee nomination in a fair contest,” said Sonko.
The Jubilee nominee accused Kenneth of enjoying government support.
“He was being supported by people from the ministry of Interior and others. I worked had for my win and I’m sure the great people of Nairobi will vote for me in August,” said Sonko.
Long before the nomination date, State House operatives had told Kenneth that the ticket was his because Sonko had accepted to step aside.
But when word reached Nairobi MPs who supported Kenneth, and who were led by Starehe’s Maina Kamanda, the leaders opposed the deal.
“They told those brokering the deal that it would have been unwise to hand Sonko all that cash before elections because the man could not be trusted and he could use the money to fight all those leaders he did not want,” said a Jubilee MP.
Kenyatta’s close friend and Murathe is said to be backing Kenneth’s bid and has vowed to ensure that Sonko does not win.
Sonko’s decision to name Igathe his running mate has also not gone down well with some rich, powerful and influential people in Murang’a.
Murang’a businesspeople control a lot of business in Nairobi and have always played a key role in deciding the city’s leadership.
After Kenneth lost to Sonko, and he named Igathe, who is from Gatundu, Kiambu, the Murang’a group led by Wanjigi Sr asked Kenneth to run as an independent.
“The elders don’t trust Sonko and they also do not think much of Peter Munga of Equity, who is positioning himself as Ruto’s power broker in the region. To defeat the Ruto-Sonko axis, the Murang’a group has decided to support Kenneth plus a host of non-Jubilee candidates running for Parliament and County Assembly seats.
Ruto has been meeting aspirants from Nairobi and other Mount Kenya areas in his bid to ensure that Jubilee aspirants present a united front.
In his letter to Jubilee dated April 26, Kenneth detailed how he was rigged out of the ruling party.
He claimed that Kajiado and Machakos voters were imported to take part in the April 30 Jubilee primaries and many of them were transported to strategic polling stations in the county, with instructions to vote for particular candidates. He also noted that there was a scheme to transport organised groups to vote in various other polling stations.
In the protest letter to the Jubilee Party, which the Star obtained yesterday, Kenneth said the party’s directive that only IDs were required in the poll made it easy for the scheme to sail through.
Sonko was declared winner having garnered 138,185 votes, while Kenneth came a distant second with 62,504 votes. Bishop Margaret Wanjiru got 7,654 votes.
Kenneth said non-JP members voted in the polls, some of them multiple times.
“Even after the party issued a statement that the vote should be conducted through the Voter’s Register, voting by IDs was used in many constituencies,” he said.
The aspirant further complained that duly registered voters were denied the chance to vote when the use of registers was introduced halfway through the voting.
“Their names were missing in the registers. The presiding officers also used marker pens instead of indelible ink hence facilitating multiple voting,” Kenneth said in the letter addressed to JP Secretary General Raphael Tuju.
He further claimed that there were cases where voters were bribed outside the polling stations, adding that this action dramatically altered the true voting outcome.
“A number of polling stations opened late while others closed early. Some were only opened for one hour. This perpetrated electoral fraud,” Kenneth said.
The governor hopeful was emphatic these irregularities that forced him out of Jubilee.
“There were cases of ballot stuffing. In short, the elections were stolen,” Kenneth said when he announced his resignation on Friday.
He added that the 93 appeals out of a possible 105 seats contested during the nominations were an indication of the magnitude of the rigging.