Sibling rivalry among Opposition parties in Nairobi has come back to bite the Nasa coalition, denying it a majority in the county assembly .
According to data from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Nasa, bagged 38 member of county assembly seats, 7 less than its rival, Jubilee Party, which had 45 MCAs in the just concluded General Election.
The other one went to PDU, while Utalii ward had no election.
Nasa consists of five political parties – Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party, FORD Kenya of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani, Wiper party of Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress.
The five parties fielded a candidate each in the ward rep race in Nairobi, a decision the coalition has come to regret.
This gave Jubilee party a chance to take majority seats, adding three seats to the number it had in the 2013 General Election.
ODM lost Makina Ward in Kibra, Parklands/Highridge Ward in Westlands and Nairobi South Ward in Starehe where the party’s candidates emerged second after other affiliates also fielded their candidates.
In Parklands and Nairobi South, for instance, Nasa lost with a slim margin that could easily have been overturned had those who voted for other candidates of the affiliate parties voted for the ODM candidate.
Jayendra Malde of JP garnered 7, 991 votes, while the incumbent Jaffer Kassam (ODM) received 5,767 votes. Vinesh Varsani of Wiper got 1, 055 votes, while ANC’s Shamsherali Lalani had 1,034 with Stephen Musyoka of Ford Kenya garnering 890 votes. All these votes amounted to 2,979 which is more than the difference between Malde and Kassam.
In Nairobi South, Esther Chege of JP defeated ODM’s Joseph Obiri with 943. In third place was Onesmus Kimilu of Wiper who had 3,463 votes. The seat was previously held by Manoah Mboku of ODM.
ANC, Ford Kenya and Wiper again fielded candidates in Makina ward against the incumbent, ODM’s Adam Alhad, who eventually lost the seat to PDU’s Solomon Magembe.
The same scenario was also reflected in other wards Pipeline where the coalition would have captured from Jubilee had it fielded a single candidate.
The coalition had first toyed with the idea of a joint nomination but the plan failed even before take-off with the affiliate parties resolving to do their own primaries.
This was also replicated in the parliamentary duel where the Opposition, for the first time since the start of multiparty election in the country, lost the Lang’ata constituency seat.
This came after all the affiliate parties fielded candidates for the same seat giving the frontrunner Oscar Omoke of ODM little chance of beating Jubilee party’s Nixon Korir who won the seat by a margin of only 1,021 votes.
Speaking to the Nation, ANC secretary general Godfrey Osotsi acknowledged that rivalry among the affiliate parties existed but refuted claims that the ‘friendly fire’ in the coalition might have denied them a chance to win many seats in the capital, saying that stronger candidates still carried the day in their respective areas.
“Fielding a single candidate as a coalition would definitely have had a positive impact but a stronger candidate would have still won anyway,” said Mr Osotsi.
He added that the opposition outfit had even a committee to thrash out an agreement but no agreement was reached as some candidates were not ready to step down for those perceived to be stronger.
Wiper party’s Nairobi chairman Roy Kivusyu said had the coalition conducted a joint nomination or struck a deal on a single candidate in every elective position, the outcome would have been different, saying that the Opposition would have bagged between 12 and 13 parliamentary seats and over 53 MCA seats.
“There were meetings to that effect but nothing concrete ever came out of it. Had we agreed as a coalition, we would have had not less than 12 or 13 seats as the only constituencies where we could not wrestle from Jubilee were Roysambu, Dagoretti South and Kasarani,” said Mr Kivusyu.
He said that Nasa had an initial plan of mapping or zoning the county to reveal each party’s strength but it failed to do so although meetings were held.
The President said Kenyans should steer away from tension instigated by politics.