When President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Jubilee Party losers to remain in the party as there would be many jobs for them, if he retained the Presidency, perhaps the Nairobi City Assembly Speaker’s post was not one of them.
For the position has attracted an avalanche of interest with both parliamentary and MCA seat losers seeking the prestigious seat, previously held by Alex ole Magelo.
Ethnic balancing and party loyalty seem to have taken center stage in the campaigns that have kicked off with the Jubilee Party leadership expected to make the final choice on who takes over.
The assembly has 85 elected and 42 nominated members.
Elections for Utalii ward are yet to be done leaving 126 MCAs to vote for the Speaker.
According to poll statistics, Jubilee scooped 45 seats against 39 for the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
Jubilee will have an additional 24 nominated MCAs while Nasa will have 18, meaning Jubilee walks into the race for Speaker with a 69 member strong army against a weakened Nasa house of 57.
Nasa has settled on former Kware MCA Kenneth Ng’ondi, who is the outgoing Deputy Speaker, to battle it out with whoever Jubilee picks for the contest.
Among those who have declared interest in the seat from the Jubilee side are Mr Magelo, former Makadara MP Benson Mutura, former Karura MCA Kamau Thuo, Roysambu politician Augustine Kamande, lawyer Karen Nyamu and Embakasi South Parliamentary loser Mutunga Mutungi.
It is the majority that Jubilee will enjoy in the assembly that dramatically narrows this battle to a contest within the ruling coalition.
Under Mr Magelo, the Assembly was rated the best in legislative work, having enacted 22 laws since 2013.
Mr Magelo is also credited with having unified the sharply divided MCAs to pass crucial laws such as the Ward Development Fund Act.
The divisions emanated from Cord’s slim majority in 2013, when they had 42 members against Jubilee’s 41.
Mr Magelo says he has reached out to the MCAs as individuals but puts a rider that the party leadership is expected to make a pick at the appropriate time.
“The party will decide. I hope I will be the party’s choice. I worked tirelessly to ensure I unified the heavily divided assembly,” Mr Magelo said.
His bid has also been boosted by support from the Maasai community after they pleaded with Jubilee leaders to help them retain the seat in appreciation of the support they gave Jubilee in the last election.
Maasai leaders led by Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku and former Senator Peter Mositet said Mr Magelo had brought order and dignity to the assembly.
“We officially plead with President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto to consider us for the Nairobi speaker’s position again.
“Our candidate will continue fostering peace and unity among the MCAs,” Mr Lenku said during his inauguration in Kajiado town on Friday.
Other Maasai MPs who back Mr Magelo are George Sunkuyia (Kajiado West), Jane Teyia (Woman Rep), Peris Tobiko ( Kajiado East), Kiloku Aramat(Narok East), Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North) and Soipan Tuya (Narok Woman Rep).