Who will get it right as Nairobi Governor come 2017?
With 14 months to the next General Elections, political battles lines are already drawn with a key focus shifting to the influential Gubernatorial position.
A good number of Senators and MPs including Bonny Khalwale, Hassan Omar, Kiraitu Murungi, Mike Sonko, Johnson Sakaja, Dennis Waweru and Cecily Mbarire among others have expressed interests to dislodge the sitting Governors of their respective counties.
But why is the position so admired?
Governors are equivalent of ”Presidents” representing semi-autonomous states in federal types of governments.
They also control a substantive amount of cash allocated to the county governments by the national government or raised through revenue collections.
For instance, Nairrobi City County gets close to Ksh20 billion from the national government and raises close to Ksh100 billion in revenues every year.
Most Governors have been accused of sleeping on their job by failing to deliver on their core mandates and apparent misuse of public funds.
A recent report by the Centre for Africa Progress, Nairobi County will experience the most competitive politics in this post with almost ten candidates having expressed interests to unseat Dr. Evans Kidero.
Among those eyeing the post currently occupied by Kidero include flamboyant Nairobi Senator Gidion Mbuvi alias Mike Sonko, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s right man Miguna Miguna.
The Centre for Africa Progress report adds an interesting twist to the contest indicating that most Nairobi electorate vote on the basis of popularity and not development per se. By this, a candidate who manifests a populist approach is likely to clinch the post.
The report shows, if a poll was to be held today, that Sonko – bearing in mind that his supporters are largely women and youth – would unseat Kidero by garnering 37% of the vote cast. Kidero would garner 24% while Dennis Waweru would garner 13%.
Bishop Wanjiru would take the fourth position with a 8% approval rating while Sakaja, The National Alliance (TNA) chairman, would come fifth with 7%.
The outspoken and controversial Muguna Miguna, who has been termed as a ‘non-serious’ contender, would garner 0.5% of the vote cast. However, a whole 9% of Nairobians are still undecided on who they would vote in as the Governor.
Sonko, popular with his political theatrics and fearless approaches, according to the report, appeals and identifies more with the young voters and women while Kidero identifies more with technocrats.
2013 Gubernatorial contenders such as Jimnah Mbaru would garner a negligible vote of 0.1% and below, according to the report.
However, political pundits feel that the maths will definitely change as the election dates draw closer adding that party nominations will also pave way for party-hopping, something that may create an imbalance in the respective coalitions plans.
The toughest contest though, is likely to pit Jubilee against CORD should there lack a strong third voice.
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