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Citizen Weekly

Monday 11 August 2014


The National Alliance Party (TNA) yesterday suffered a devastating defeat in the hands of their political rivals ODM after the IEBC declared Steve Kariuki as the Mathare constituency MP elect.

Kariuki clinched the Mathare constituency parliamentary seat in a closely contested by-election after garnering 14,966 votes while his closest challenger George Wanjohi of TNA garnered 14,082 votes.

TNA sources divulged that the party now blames Starehe MP Maina Kamanda for the loss and wants him to take full responsibility. Kamanda was the head of Wanjohi’s campaign team something that sources say did not have the full blessings of Nairobi TNA branch.

Those who have been keenly following Mathare campaigns will agree that the Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko was conspicuously missing during the campaigns something that has raised more questions that answers.

Political analysts now say that Sonko’s absence in Mathare campaigns contributed overwhelmingly to Wanjohi’s loss. For one, among the Wanjohi campaign team, there was no one to appeal to the youths from the TNA side whereas Kariuki himself is a youth and is believed to have scooped all the youth votes in Mathare.

To make matters worse, Sonko also skipped a major campaign rally that was addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto something that clearly indicates that Sonko was not part of the TNA campaign team.

It is not however known if there is a political difference between Sonko and Kamannda or Sonko and Wanjohi but well-placed sources say Sonko had been proposed to spearhead the campaigns by virtue of being the seniourmost TNA politician in Nairobi county but Kamannda on his part claimed that he understands Nairobi politics more than Sonko and that he has been a Nairobi MP for years.

It was after such arguments that Sonko seemed to have washed off his hands not to be seen as fighting with his juniors. Analysts further say that TNA’s greatest error was to allow Sonko keep off the Mathare polls. One, Sonko is a well-known mobilize and enjoys overwhelming support among the youth and more so due to the fact that he enjoys political goodwill from across the political divide.

During the last general elections, Sonko surprised many when he garnered over 900,000 votes against ODM’s Margaret Wanjiru’s 525,822 votes. This was a clear indication that he enjoyed support across the political divide. Some TNA sources were last night overheard saying that Sonko is a brand name in Nairobi politics who you can only ignore at your own peril.

Analysts further say that the presence of former VP and WDM leader Kalonzo Musyoka during the ODM campaigns further complicated matters for Wanjohi as the Kmba votes are believed to have provided the swing vote in favour of Kariuki. It is said had Sonko campaigned in Mathare, he could have swayed the Kamba votes in favour of Wanbjohi.

The by-election followed a successful petition by Kariuki against the election of Wanjohi in the March 2013 General Election. Other candidates in the poll were William Omondi (Independent) who came in third with 194 votes, Crispus Fwamba Nyangangali (Maendeleo Democratic Party) 66, Mariam Muthoni Macharia (Independent) 39, Sammy Jentruo Mudanya (Progressive Party of Kenya) 37, Barack Obat Blasto (Independent) 19, Billian Okoth Ojiwa (National Labour Party) 15 and Nixon Kavai Inziria (Independent) with 11 votes.

The by-election registered 33.42% voter turnout with candidates attributing the low numbers to voter's apathy following the postponement of the voting day from August 7 to August 11.
A total of 29,429 votes were cast, 220 of the rejected.

TNA must now go back to the drawing board if the party is to stop ODM from further intimidation ahead of the Cord’s referendum.

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