Candidates throw barbs at each other as they seek Nairobi votes

, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 4 – Former adviser to Raila Odinga on coalition affairs in the 2008-2013 Grand Coalition Government, Miguna Miguna, Monday night tore into Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero describing him as incompetent and corrupt.

Miguna unleashed the attack on Kidero and three other opponents in the Nairobi gubernatorial contest during a public debate held at the Daystar University in Nairobi where the candidates for the city’s top job had an opportunity to pitch to the city residents.

Miguna accused the county chief of defending the interests of cartels, who he said had defrauded billions of shillings of taxpayers’ money.

“I agree that Mr Kidero is actually very passionate and dependable but only in one thing – looting public resources. He is quite capable,” he said.

“If Kidero knew the meaning of activism, he would not have a presidential candidate (Raila Odinga) who is the dean of activists,” Miguna added.

In response, the governor who is defending his seat on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket said he had done his best to eliminate corruption at City Hall during his tenure, asking to be given another term to complete the work he has started.

“When I got into City Hall I found it was a hall and a gutter with myriads and multiple of challenges but also as is written in the biblical book of Ezekiel, lots of cartels. I have done the much I can do, laid down the foundation and I can assure you that I now know where all the potholes are and I’m asking Nairobians to give me an opportunity to build on the foundations I have laid,” he responded.

During the debate, former Gatanga lawmaker Peter Kenneth also fiercely defended himself against claims that he mismanaged the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation during his tenure as Managing Director leading to its collapse.

Responding to Miguna’s claims that he diverted the company’s resources prompting his dismissal through a court order, Kenneth said the accusations were misleading and challenged Miguna to produce evidence to support his claims.

“Sometimes being a motor mouth is not a solution to our problems. If I ever bought any house from the Kenya Re, or did anything illegal let him produce the details. This rumor mongering will not help him (Miguna),” Kenneth said.

Miguna had earlier in the debate linked Kenneth with an attempt to sale off the company to Monarch Insurance based in Zimbabwe for Sh 800 million when the real value was in fact more than Sh 2 billion.

He accused the former leader of the Kenya National Congress who joined Jubilee Party and later quit following his loss in party primaries in April to run as an independent candidate of failing the people of Gatanga when he served as an MP.

“Peter Kenneth is the one called the ‘jiggered mind’ because he fought  Ahadi Kenya Trust, an NGO fighting jiggers in his constituency,” Miguna claimed.

During the debate, Jubilee Party candidate Mike Sonko pledged to lower tax rates for city traders in order to improve the livelihoods of small-scale traders.

He said levies imposed on small-scale traders will be scraped in order to give them a better chance of generating an income for themselves.

“The money we get from the National Government is enough to do development in our county. The low income earners like newspapers venders need not pays levies,” Sonko said.

Sonko accused Miguna of pedaling baseless allegations against him saying he had no solutions to problems facing the city.

“Miguna has always been intimidating leaders basing his allegations on hear say. He always called me a drug dealer yet he has never tabled any evidence to prove the same.”

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