By Gikonyo Kimani
Peter Kenneth’s candidature for Nairobi is not expected to live longer than Kenneth Marende’s. The same people who brought the frail Kenneth Marende have now brought the pale Peter Kenneth. This is a continuation of the mischief being introduced to water down CS Wamalwa’s entry into Nairobi politics.
After coming fourth in the 2013 elections with fewer votes than his social media followers, Peter Kenneth retreated to political backwaters and has shown little if any interest in politics until now. A wounded Peter Kenneth with signs of an out of fitness politician declared that he would be supporting Uhuru Kenyatta for 2017 while he runs for a yet to be decided governor’s seat with Nairobi, Nakuru and Muranga on the cards. The political confusion the statement brought out has led to many, especially in Nairobi where the politics is hot to dismiss Kenneth as a socialite politician; more fit for social media banter than real on the ground politics.
It is ridiculous that Peter Kenneth would come out to support Uhuru Kenyatta at this time then also fiercely hold on to his Kenya national Congress KNC party which failed to win a single elective seat in 2013. Kenneth’s half hearted support of Uhuru has exacerbated the popular opinion that Kenneth considers himself way better and capable than Uhuru Kenyatta; the main reason he ran in 2013. If Kenneth were sincere in his support of Uhuru Kenyatta, he would have dissolved his party during the Jubilee merger where Uhuru consolidated all his regional and lieutenants’ support. Peter Kenneth was nowhere to be seen.
Even within his own Mt Kenya backyard, Kenneth is seen as an outsider without any known political friends or support. His 2013 bid against a Kenyatta who was staring the ICC in the face was a slap on the community’s face that thought Uhuru needed all the local support he could get. In Nairobi, Kenneth does not have any personal relationship with any of the Jubilee MPs or MCAs. His rival kikuyu candidates Dennis Waweru and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru have way much support than Kenneth could harness. Dennis Waweru has gained some traction with a nativist message that appeals to Kikuyu hegemony while Bishop’s street preaching has seen her create a core support from the working class Kikuyus. The elite kikuyu having automatically dismissed Kenneth remain unattached as they wait to analyse the situation and support someone they are sure will not fail.
As the Nairobi jubilee race retreats from the frontline battles that were characteristic of the race before the Kenyatta Market lunch between Uhuru and Nairobi leaders to behind the scenes manoeuvres, Kenneth enters the race without the benefit of a ground presence every other candidate has. Over and above the support Dennis Waweru and Bishop Wanjiru have built for themselves, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has his own die hard following, CS Eugene Wamalwa has consolidated his core Luhya support in readiness for a February masses mobilization while Sakaja remains ambivalent in both message and core support. It is impossible to see where Kenneth will find a footing without causing a major uproar within Nairobi’s established politics.