Mike Sonko and Evans Kidero duel promises fireworks

Nairobi governor aspirants Evans Kidero and Mike Mbuvi Sonko.

While in 2013 Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko had what can be described as a political field day in Nairobi County, garnering more votes than even the presidential candidates and Governor Evans Kidero, his decision to contest the governorship may upset the equation.

He was the most voted politician contesting in Nairobi, garnering 814,184 votes against his closest challenger, Margaret Wanjiru (then in ODM), who got 526,437 votes.

Even the presidential candidates, namely Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, could not match Sonko’s votes in Nairobi County as they went home with 659,490 and 691,156 ballots respectively.

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Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero garnered 692,490 votes against his closest challenger, Ferdinand Waititu, who had 618,047 votes, 121,694 votes less than Sonko’s. The question here, therefore, is: Will Sonko’s 2013 crowd stick with him?

According to Sandra Ochola, a political analyst, Sonko is doing well as far as his political fortunes are concerned.

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“He has prepared for this position over the years by winning and maintaining his constituency through pro-poor projects such as the Sonko Rescue Team. The nominations spoke to this as he came out winning over Peter Kenneth. So his constituency has remained with him,” says Ochola.

The middle class

Sonko’s biggest challenge, however, according to her is how to endear himself to the other side of the divide (the middle class), whose votes will equally be key to his camp if he is to wrest the county leadership from Kidero.

“He has been seen working towards this and we have seen him trying to change his image (to include more decorum) and having a more polished running mate. Whether this will work is a matter of speculation,” says Ochola.

But Kidero’s camp seems to have been buttressed with, among other things, the evolution of Cord into NASA, bringing on board Musalia Mudavadi and Isaac Ruto, whose constituencies and influence in Nairobi County could tilt the vote count towards Kidero.

Though the 2013 gubernatorial results were contested and the matter ended up in court, Kidero’s victory was upheld at the Supreme Court.

The Nairobi county chief says NASA will hold activities every weekend in Nairobi where it is eyeing at least 1.5 million votes from the 2.3 million registered voters.

“I was born in Eastlands which, therefore, means that I am conversant with every corner of Nairobi County. Together with my deputy, Jonathan Mueke, with whom we have worked harmoniously in over four years in office, we will take our campaign to every doorstep,” says Kidero.

According to Kidero, the fact that Sonko got the largest number of votes in Nairobi County in 2013 does not hold water in this year’s contest because of the dynamism of politics.

“This is a totally different race. I have been in office and Nairobians can tell what I have done for them. Being a pioneer governor, there were challenges here and there as we basically started from a scratch. With spirited campaigns and our score card, we will triumph,” he says.

Assembly seats

He further says that NASA is targeting 13 of the 17 constituencies and at least 53 of the city’s 85 MCA positions.

In 2013, NASA (then Cord) had 43 assembly seats while Jubilee had 42. This meant that they shared equally the 42 nomination slots.

“This time, we want 53 seats in the assembly and at least 13 seats in the national assembly,”  says Kidero.

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