It had to take a tragic happening in the Huruma building collapse for candidates vying for the Jubilee ticket to reveal their allegiances and how the race is shaping up. Two teams have emerged, one led by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and another by Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru. Margaret Wanjiru has been left as a lone wolf navigating the urban jungle solitary as others merge into packs for the fierce vote hunting season that has just kicked off. City hall is the prize, currently firmly between Kidero’s maniacal jaws.
The shaping up is largely being orchestrated in a whatsapp group that has taken over Nairobi politics by storm. Nairobi Forward is a whatsapp group where most of the members are aspiring for one seat or another. Members frequently post their tactics to cow their opponents or to seem bigger than life. The group has already featured twice in The Star where conversations have leaked including screen shots of actual conversations.
Team SOSA as its adherents call it within the group is a Sonko, Sakaja team that is clearly a very coordinated approach to the politics of the day. It seems Sonko has come up with an undeclared MOU to groom Sakaja as his successor for Senate as Sakaja endorses Sonko for governor. Other members in the team include Simon Mbugua who is angling for Deputy Governor, Ibrahim Yussuf aka Johnny who is said to be strategizing for the Kamukunji MPs seat. Milly Omanga is also friendly to the group and is positioning herself for the Woman’s Rep position. Sonko isn’t a member of the group but has a team doing his work there. This group also seems to have enlisted the services of COTU Boss Francis Atwoli who gave them a great platform at the Labour Day celebrations where Sonko and Sakaja showed up in matching uniforms. The Bromance is in high gear.
The other team calls itself #NairobiForward carrying the name of the whatsapp group. It is under Dennis Waweru and has managed to bring together a team comprising Mutinda Kavemba, Fwamba NC Fwamba, Rachel Shebesh and the unspoken support of the Nairobi political establishment led by Maina Kamanda. Almost all current TNA MCAs and MPs are in this team but are playing behind the scenes to let Waweru emerge as his own man. The only TNA MP not in the team is George Theuri who is under team SOSA. The Mt Kenya Foundation and its moneybags is bankrolling Waweru’s candidature. In the place Atwoli has in SOSA, this team has Nairobi veteran politician Fred Gumo.
Both teams are strategizing fiercely against each other. Over the last weekend, they have deployed themselves together in the city especially at Huruma where everyone worked to be seen with the people.
In a bizarre twist that may bring to question who is the candidate preferred by president Uhuru Kenyatta, the president arrived in Huruma on Saturday in the company of Dennis Waweru and his team who chaperoned him around the tragic site. It is said the team first met the president at State House to brief him on the tragedy and then left together for Huruma. Sakaja was present after spending the whole night there, taking an unfortunate break from his usual weekend riots in bars across town.