Politics

Uhuru's hand in Nairobi assembly leadership changes

Uhuru's hand in Nairobi assembly leadership changes
  • Incessant wrangles and infighting have been the order of the day since the previous leaders was ousted last November and an interim team put in place.
  • The supremacy battle now threatens the newly established Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), which took over key county functions as part of the city takeover by the national government.
  • With this threat, Jubilee's top leaders stepped in, holding two meetings this week with the aim of reaching a political settlement.
  • Reached for comment, Mr Tuju confirmed that consultations had taken place and that the new line-up was created as a compromise.

Jubilee Party's latest leadership changes in the Nairobi assembly have followed behind-the-scenes lobbying that started in 2019.

Incessant wrangles and infighting have been the order of the day since the previous leaders was ousted last November and an interim team put in place.

The infighting led to formation of two rival camps; one supporting Governor Mike Sonko and led by the ousted leaders and the interim team commandeered by Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

This development resulted in rival camps between Sonko and Ms Elachi, with each faction apparently working to gain recognition and the favour of Jubilee bosses led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The supremacy battle now threatens the newly established Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), led by Director-General Mohammed Badi, which took over key county functions as part of the city takeover by the national government.

CRISIS MEETINGS

With this threat, Jubilee's top leaders stepped in, holding two meetings this week with the aim of reaching a political settlement.

Sources who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity said Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju chaired the meeting while Deputy Chairman David Murathe attended following orders by the President, who was updated about the proceedings.

It was at the two meetings that a compromise list of MCAs drawn from both camps was crafted.

The list was then shared with the President, who gave his approval for Mr Tuju to communicate the changes.

The source said that high-octane lobbying had been ongoing with ousted leaders fighting to get reinstated and the interim leaders working to retain their positions.

The source added that Governor Sonko had been part of the lobbying, wanting his preferred side to take up the leadership to counter the ODM side, which had taken control of the assembly.

“The final meeting was held Thursday, when the changes were finally made. In both the informal and formal meetings, Murathe has been at the driving seat of the negotiations and consultations. The President was also highly involved in the negotiations. The final decision came from him,” said one of the sources.

THE CHANGES

On Thursday evening, Mr Tuju unveiled the new line-up reinstating former Majority Leader and Matopeni MCA Abdi Guyo to his seat and picking Mihango MCA Paul Kados, from the rival faction, as the Majority Whip.

Mr Guyo replaced Dandora Area 3 MCA Charles Thuo while Mr Kados took over from nominated MCA June Ndegwa.

The Matopeni MCA will be deputided by Dandora Area 1 MCA Peter Wanyoike while Mr Kados will be deputised by South B MCA Waithera Chege.

Mr Thuo and Ms Ndegwa have been among Jubilee MCAs calling themselves the “12 disciples”.

They have been leaning towards Speaker Elachi while Mr Guyo and Ms Chege made up with the City Hall boss after he fell out with Ms Elachi.

TUJU'S COMMENT

Reached for comment, Mr Tuju confirmed that consultations had taken place and that the new line-up was created as a compromise.

He said the party set up an interim office last year to allow the warring groups to reach their own decisions in a bid to find a lasting solution.

“I allowed a temporary situation to prevail until they reached an agreement. There were different camps and so each of the protagonists has been given a position," he siad.

"It was my responsibility to communicate the same so they can work without any more fighting."

OFFICIAL NOTICE

But it appears the wrangles could be far from over.

During a special sitting on Friday, Speaker Elachi did not recognise the new leadership, saying she was yet to receive a letter from Jubilee .

“No letter has reached my office to communicate the changes. I can only communicate to the house on the changes when the SG officially writes a letter to the Office of the Speaker on all the changes,” she said.

Ms Ndegwa accused “State House operatives” of going behind their backs to orchestrate their removal because they support DG Badi.

“We had not finished the consultations between the rival factions. We were still consulting and the SG was aware. He was in fact advising us on some steps. If this is his way of calming down the wrangles, [he should know he has] fuelled them further. How do you calm the wrangles without informing the other side?”

Mr Thuo linked their ouster to Sonko's claim that they had been supporting the NMS DG and alienating him in the process but said he would not apologise for this.

“We have not been involved in any consultations but it is good to point out that there has been a difference of opinion with the governor on the issue of budget-making in reference to transferred functions,” he said.

“The governor thought we were giving the DG too much support but we have no apology for this. Maybe the party is sending a message to members that if you support the DG, you are going to be punished."