Political analyst Prof Edward Kisiang’ani has explained why the standoff between Nairobi gubernatorial aspirants Mike Sonko and Peter Kenneth is a big headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking on Citizen TV on Thursday evening, Prof Kisiang’ani said Kenneth’s entry into Nairobi politics has everything to do with the 2022 succession at the presidency.
The political analyst claims that Jubilee Party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, is keen to see Kenneth ascend to the presidency come 2022, and feels if he fails to become Nairobi governor after August 8, he will be weak politically to vie for President.
“If Sonko beats Kenneth in 2017 elections, Kenneth will be a weak candidate come 2022 if he vies for President,” he said.
Peter Kenneth and Senator Sonko are set to battle it out in Jubilee primaries next week for the gubernatorial ticket.
However, many feel the party, including the President, is rooting for Kenneth’s candidature despite Sonko being an ardent supporter of Jubilee.
“The crisis surrounding Sonko and Kenneth has nothing to do with 2017 elections. It’s about 2022. Peter Kenneth is part of the 2022 elections planning. Some people within Jubilee are behind the planning, I don’t know who, but within the party some people feel Sonko does not fit in the 2022 equation,” said Prof Kisiang’ani.
Nairobi gubernatorial hopefuls, Peter Kenneth (left) and Mike Sonko (right).
The analyst said Uhuru asking Murang’a residents to pray for their son to win the Nairobi seat was an indication he was backing him.
“The other day the President was speaking a little softly, but relaying some message. He even asked people to pray for Kenneth, which is not wrong. I think there is a part of his heart which thinks Kenneth should be part of the 2022 succession program. Then, he thinks Sonko can play any role in 2022. So that complicates the matter…” he said.
Sonko and Kenneth have engaged in public spats, with the flamboyant Senator insisting he can never work with the former Gatanga MP.
Two days ago, Jubilee Party postponed the Nairobi nominations to Monday, April 21. The primaries were to be held on Friday, April 21.
"In response to major representations to the party by the large Muslim Community in Nairobi the National Executive Committee in consultation with the National Elections Board has postponed the Jubilee party primaries from Friday 21 to Monday 24 of April," said party Secretary General Raphael Tuju.
However, political pundits say the Nairobi nominations were pushed to Monday to allow Sonko and Kenneth to reach a consensus on who will fly the party's flag in August polls.
Both Kenneth and Uhuru have said the party is ready to arbitrate to avoid a crisis.