Done deal! Tim will now deputise Igathe
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio la Umoja presidential hopeful Raila Odinga struck a deal late yesterday in the evening to end the stalemate over the Nairobi governorship race.
After almost seven hours, two meetings and numerous phone calls between the leaders, it was agreed ODM governor hopeful Tim Wanyonyi shelves his ambition and agrees to back Jubilee nominee Polycarp Igathe as his deputy.
However, one small hitch popped out that will be ironed today: Wiper party of Kalonzo Musyoka had already entered into an agreement to have Prof Philip Kaloki deputise Igathe and with the new arrangement, Wiper will be staking out for another slot.
There was, however, tension after a fivehour marathon meeting chaired by Raila at a Nairobi hotel failed to broker a deal. An adamant Wanyonyi forced the leaders to seek President Uhuru’s intervention at State House, Nairobi. Raila had convened the meeting at the five-star hotel located in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area moments after attending the first ever Azimio La Umoja Council that was chaired by Uhuru.
The meeting, roped in some senior ODM officials including deputy leaders Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega governor) and Mombasa’s Ali Hassan Joho, Director of Elections Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Babu Owino (Embakasi East), George Aladwa (Nairobi ODM chairman and Makadara MP), Anthony Oluoch (Mathare MP), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i) and Justus Kizito Mugali (Shinyalu), is said to have been full of tempers with a section of the Luhya leaders threatening to decamp from the coalition.
Wanyonyi is said to have remained firm as he was buoyed by the support of Wanjala and Kizito, who openly challenged Raila to state “the stake” of the Luhya people in Azimio.
After hours of unsuccessful relentless pleas by Raila, Joho and Oparanya on Wanyonyi to drop his bid and instead become a running-mate to Igathe, the meeting was moved to State House at around 5 pm. The deadline for all political parties to submit the names of all their aspirants to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is today.
Trouble for Wanyonyi began last Tuesday when he was summoned to State House by President Uhuru where he was implored upon to step down in favour of Igathe. Others at the State House meeting were Raila, Igathe himself, Governor Anne Kananu and business lady Agnes Kagure.
After the five-hour marathon meeting at State House, Wanyonyi is said to have stuck to his guns as he insisted on going for nothing short of the governorship. A line-up believed to have the backing of State House had proposed that Igathe become the governor, Wanyonyi his deputy, Edwin Sifuna the Senator and Beatrice Kwamboka as the Woman Representative.
Issuing a statement to the media shortly after the meeting, Wanyonyi said he would await the decision of the Azimio leadership.
“Ladies and gentlemen, leadership is a calling. Throughout my political career, the people I serve have been the backbone of my leadership. It has never been about me, I listen to the people,” Wanyonyi had said. He added: “
The coalition, which I belong to is Azimio-One Kenya coalition, is in consultation and will be issuing a statement very soon about Nairobi. From the beginning, I always say it is not about me but us. I am still in the race.
The decision of the coalition will also either add weight to it or subtract. We will wait for that communication which will be soon.”
The standoff drew in leaders from the Mulembe nation, who claimed to have been irked by the proposition to have Wanyonyi step down, and demanded ODM hands him the ticket since he was the sole contender.
The leaders said they were confident Wanyonyi would win because of the support he would get from the 2.6 million members of the luhya community in Nairobi. ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna absolved the ODM party from the claims that it had deliberately denied Wanyonyi the gubernatorial ticket. Sifuna stated that forces within affiliate parties in Azimio have interfered in the matter.