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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 13 October 2014

WHAT NEXT FOR BISHOP WANJIRU AS SHE QUITS ODM?



The political terrain in Nairobi county politics is set to change dramatically following the surprise announcement by former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru that she has quit ODM party.
There have been rumours that she is heading to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA and that she is set to run for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in 2017.
Her entry into the race through TNA will further complicate matters for TNA and more so, former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu, who lost to Evans Kidero in 2013. Analysts now say that should she join TNA, she is likely to give Waititu a run for his money to clinch the TNA ticket.
Others say that she is out to chart her own political path and she is even considering running as an independent candidate. In TNA, her fear is that her sworn political enemies who have established themselves may not allow her to make inroads. Maina Kamanda, Rachael Shebesh and Simon Mbugua are the faces calling shots in city politics on Jubilee side.
Another scenario is if she joins TNA, and the Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko also joins the race as rumours have been spreading, matters will assume an entirely different political colour in Nairobi.
 Sonko is currently undertaking a business administration degree at Kenya Methodist University and is set to graduate towards the end of the year. However, within TNA is the fact that Sonko used the party to win the populous Kikuyu vote in Nairobi whilst he did not deliver his Kamba vote to it. Sonko got more votes than Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi after enjoying a combination of Kikuyu-Kamba vote axis as the Kambas voted for Raila presidency. In the recent Mathare by-election, Sonko is accused of not delivering the Kamba vote for TNA candidate. Kikuyu city tycoons have sworn not to back him for governorship on TNA come 2017.
It has also been rumoured that he is under pressure from his supporters to run for the seat in 2017 but he has kept his supporters guessing.
Jubilee’s game plan according to reports is to have Sonko run for the governor’s seat in 2017 since he is seen as the only force that can win the seat considering his support that cuts across political, religious and ethnic divide. In the event that Sonko shifts to the governor’s seat, then Wanjiru must work overtime to beat him at TNA nominations.
Back to Wanjiru, she claims to have left ODM party after she was humiliated by the party leadership when she was denied the opportunity to vie for the Nairobi gubernatorial seats.
Wanjiru tried to vie for the seat on an ODM ticket but was barred after it emerged that her degree was not recognised and accused the party of doing nothing to save her situation.
 “I have been very serious and very committed in school and now I have a Kenyan degree. A few years ago, when I launched my candidature for the Nairobi governor, the only thing ODM did was to do what they did to me about my religious degree. They call them theological, pastoral, but now let’s hear who will say what now,” Wanjiru said.
She was barred from running for the seat after her degree in theology from Vineyard Harvester Bible College and her Bachelor’s degree in Christian leadership from United Graduate College and Seminary International were rejected by the Commission for Higher Education. Last week, after graduation, she bragged that she was unfairly denied the chance to vie for the Nairobi governorship by ODM but believes it belongs to her and nothing will stop her from getting it. “The Nairobi governorship was mine and it remains mine,” Wanjiru vowed.
Apart from Wanjiru, another person said to be laying strategies for the seat ahead of 2017 is city deputy governor Jonathan Mueke.
But even as she claims to be partyless, the TNA Nairobi leadership is likely to lock her out considering her close links with Raila and could easily be branded a spy. Wanjiru’s son Stephen Kariuki is an ODM MP representing Mathare and what remains to be seen is whether he will also quit ODM ahead of 2017 elections.
His election on ODM ticket was seen as a trick by TNA to have him win but pledge his loyalty to president Uhuru Kenyatta. Although in parliament on Raila led party, Kariuki who has roots Gatundu South just like the president is said to have a soft spot on the ruling Jubilee coalition. Analysts say Bishop Wanjiru tricked Raila to have her son elected by pretending to be in Cord only to divorce the party after the Mathare by-election son’s triumphal victory.