Friday, 19 May 2017 18:30

Of Nairobi Politics and Peter Kenneth intrigues

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The intrigues surrounding the Nairobi gubernatorial race won’t go away just yet. Even the before the excitement surrounding Polycarp Igathe’s choice as Sonko’s running mate dies down , Peter Kenneth has announced his intention to run for the position as an independent candidate.

It is no secret that PK, as he is popularly known, was a badly executed project that failed to gain any traction. The PK project was crafted and fronted by powerful Kikuyu elites who felt they needed one of their own at the helm of Nairobi politics. It is claimed these powerful interests prevailed upon the head of state to personally request PK to run as Nairobi governor assuring him of their support. The strategy was simple; prevail upon Sonko to step down by offering him either money or a position.

Not only did they not anticipate the resistance that their project would encounter, but they also underestimated Sonko’s stubbornness and determination. It did not help that PK was uninspiring, lacking in energy and passion and totally unable to connect with the typical Nairobi voter. Sonko on the hand is the darling of the masses, the defender of the powerless, the rescuer of Nairobi people from the oppressive forces of the Nairobi county government and greedy businessmen.

Sonko and #TeamNairobi put up a spirited campaign against the PK project, branding him a traitor and used his 2013 ill-advised presidential bid as evidence that his support for Uhuru Kenyatta was not genuine. By tying Maina Kamanda and some kikuyu elites to PK, Sonko tactfully kept President Uhuru’s name from the controversy and resisted the urge to demonize the Kikuyu community whose support he needed to clinch the seat. There was a feeling though that President Uhuru was quietly supportive of PK’s candidature.

PK supporters used Sonko’s past antics, flashy lifestyle, and criminal record and personality traits to portray him as unsuitable to be Nairobi governor.
Sonko took advantage of the general disorganization, confusion over the voters’ register and mobilized his supporters to secure the Jubilee ticket. PK, who stood no chance in the absence of a consensus rejected the results and blamed powerful forces within the Jubilee party of deliberately locking him out.

PK’s ill-advised decision to run as an independent candidate is simply a move to spoil for Sonko and spite the deputy President whom he felt bungled the Nairobi primaries specifically to lock him out.
PK is seen by some as one of the natural successors to President Uhuru’s Mt. Kenya support base and a key player in the 2022 succession politics. The rumour that the Deputy President was behind PK’s woes is given credence by claims by a section of Mt. Kenya politicians led by Kiambu governor William Kabogo, that the deputy president engineered their defeat in the party primaries to firmly take control of the Mt. Kenya politics as part of the 2022 succession game.

The Deputy President personally took charge of Polycarp Igathe’s unveiling as Sonko’s running mate. Igathe, a technocrat is supposed to compensate for Sonko’s deficiencies, inject professionalism, appease the Muranga group who have always controlled Nairobi politics and give confidence to the middle class Jubilee supporters who were not convinced of Sonko’s credentials as Nairobi’s governor. President Uhuru’s silence and absence in the whole process, while not unusual, speaks volumes.

There are questions on who is behind Kenneth’s latest move. Is it the growing movement of independent candidates who are unhappy with the Deputy President’s handling of Jubilee’s primaries? Is it Kidero who stands to benefit from Jubilee’s split vote? Or could it be the same forces that conceived and propelled PK’s failed Jubilee bid keen on locking Sonko out?

I have a feeling President Uhuru does not mind Kidero as Nairobi governor for the next five years. I am also convinced Kidero does not mind Uhuru as Kenya’s President for the next five years. The open camaraderie between the two says a lot. If voting was not by secret ballot, I would be keen to see how the two would vote.

PK knows very well he stands no chance against Sonko and Kidero. It could be he is merely posturing for a position by threatening to spoil Jubilee’s party in Nairobi. Time will tell.

Read 43 times Last modified on Monday, 05 June 2017 01:53

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