Sonko, Kenneth head for bruising nominations after concession talks flop

Jubilee Party aspirants in Nairobi go to nominations on Monday, with those running for governor having failed to reach a deal on how to share seats.

Meetings between the presidency and leading contenders Mike Sonko and Peter Kenneth bore no fruit and it was finally decided voters will have to make their decision.

The decision  to postpone the polls from Friday to Monday was meant to buy time so that a boardroom deal could be reached between the two.

Investigations by Nation showed that the president’s men were divided between the two candidates, while those of the Deputy President were firmly on the voters having the final call.

Pulling the strings were the moneyed Mt Kenya tycoons who were keen to have someone they can call upon at City Hall as the 2022 succession politics came into play.


“The moneyed Mt Kenya tycoons feel with election of Kenneth in Nairobi, he will  be in prime position as  far as Uhuru succession is concerned, something DP Ruto handlers are not keen on,” said an insider involved in the political machinations.

The most interesting part was that Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, who is also running for governor,  was not at the centre of the talks and she went on with her campaigns oblivious of intense negotiations that were going on.

She scoffed at suggestions that Team Nairobi that included her, Mr Johnson Sakaja, Mr Sonko and Mr Dennis Waweru, was an attempt to clip the wings of Mr Kenneth.

“I wonder, does he have any wings. No body  is trying to clip him, if Nairobi has rejected him that’s the case,” she said.

She added she was not part of negotiations between Sonko and Kenneth. 

“Nobody has called me for night or day meetings. I have been campaigning. If you are not invited for a meeting then you don’t attend. There have been so many rumours and I don’t have time for them. Maybe there are meetings about the  Boys club trying to share spoils. They just have to know there can’t be no deal without Bishop Margaret Wanjiru,” she said. 


The clearest sign that things were not okay came on Wednesday when party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju postponed the nominations to Monday citing a request by Muslim community in the city.

The ruse was a feeble attempt to mask the true reason and since Muslims go for their major prayers on a Friday it was meant to make party members believe everything was normal.

The true story was, however, that frantic efforts were being made by  the team behind Kenneth to have Sonko drop out.

“Those opposed to Sonko stepping down had a simple answer to their counterparts, why not allow people to decide yet that has been the president’s rallying call,” said a source.

Sonko, sources indicated, had been promised all available goodies at the disposal of the government, running mate to Peter Kenneth,  a Cabinet Secretary position and even to ran as a senator but he rejected all the offers.

When he attended the burial of Mr William Gatuhi Murathe, father of his close allay David Murathe, President Kenyatta appeared to endorse Mr Kenneth.

He, however, beat a hasty retreat on Thursday when he said he had merely asked people to pray for their son as he was praying for aspirants.

Maina Kamanda, a close ally of Kenneth, acknowledged there was no consensus despite several meetings.

“Kenneth wanted to offer Sonko running mate position. Sonko insisted he will still be  on the ballot,” he said. He denied Kenneth had been offered a Cabinet Secretary.

“I was not part of negotiations  to have Kenneth not to ran. My position  has been clear that Nairobi need not have governor positions nominations,” he said.

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