Is Governor Sakaja a Man Under Siege?

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  • Minority Leader tells the governor to focus on service delivery, not festivities
  • Kiragu accused Governor Sakaja of sidelining UDA supporters while sharing the spoils by inviting their political rivals into his government.

By Adieri Mulaa

As curtains are drawn to close the year 2022, Kenyans are reflecting on the need for good governance both at our national and county levels government, with hope for a new chapter of development and prosperity next year.

However, in Nairobi City County, Governor Johnson Sakaja could be a man under siege, between a rock and a hard place as he seeks to steer the capital to the next level, through his manifesto and President William Ruto’s UDA party government ideals.

Sakaja is apparently riding on a delicate balancing act since he named his cabinet on October 26, and the recent appointment of chief officers.

Members of County Assembly (MCAs) from the UDA side have unequivocally expressed their disappointment over the governor’s inclusion of nominees from the rival Azimio coalition in his county executive committee (cabinet).

On the same premise, the Minority leader in Nairobi county assembly Anthony Kiragu, who is the UDA party leader in the House has cautioned Governor Sakaja not to engage in media sideshows by dragging former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s name into his affairs at City Hall.

“Sakaja should stop blaming former president Uhuru Kenyatta because he retired and went home. He should be seeking solutions to the problems bedeviling the city residents and traders who elected him into office”, Kiragu said in an interview.

Speaking to The Times on Wednesday 28, Kiragu accused Governor Sakaja of sidelining UDA supporters while sharing the spoils by inviting their political rivals into his government.

At the same time, the Waithaka Ward MCA wants the governor to avoid dwelling on trivialities and festivities and instead focus on his development agenda as a matter of priority.

“The governor now has a full cabinet and the executive. When are we going to get solutions to the challenges facing the city residents and problems of the traders in Nairobi who elected him”, Mr Kiragu posed.

He criticized the governor for inclining towards the Azimio coalition who were his competitors in the elections five months ago.

“It is only five months after elections. We cannot start on such a footing because we have to fulfill our election pledges under the hustler programmes”, Kiragu said.

The leader questioned the appointment of Ms Rosemary Kariuki as the County Executive Committee Member for Business and Hustler Opportunities while she was serving as director of registration for the ODM party.

Kiragu says Ms Kariuki is heading a portfolio she does not believe in because she did not subscribe to the hustler narrative and the UDA manifesto.

There is a clear feeling by the UDA leadership and Members at the and county assembly that Governor Sakaja was pro Azimio and they have openly said so.

“We have no problem with the governor but he knows whoever was with him when he was campaigning. If he is not happy with the yellow jersey, let him wear the blue jersey and move on”, says the Minority Leader in apparent reference to the UDA and Azimio coalition party colours.

On Thursday December 22, Kiragu led a walk out by UDA Members of the House committee on Energy and ICT, during the vetting of Ms Lucky Oguttu Okudo for the position of chief officer for Energy and Lighting.

The MCAs strongly expressed their rejection of her appointment by Governor Sakaja, claiming she had submitted the requisite documents after the deadline.

During her vetting, emotions flared in the Committee on both sides of the divide when sentiments arose that Ms Okudo was among the people who were involved in the fracas at Bomas of Kenya ahead of presidential results being announced, there by sparking a walk out by UDA party MCAs in protest.

However, the ICT Committee vice chairman Robert Alai took charge and steered the vetting proceedings after the chairman, Kawangware MCA Fredrick Njogu walked out in solidarity with his enraged party colleagues.

The Leader of Minority at the Nairobi City County Assembly Anthony Kiragu raising objection over the nomination of Ms Lucky Oguttu Okudo by Governor Sakaja. Photo: Adieri Mulaa 

In a special sitting of the assembly on Friday December 23, 2022 to consider approval of the new chief officers, Minority Chief Whip Mark Mugambi whipped all Members from the UDA side to skip the session.

However, in the sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Kados Kiguathi, the House approved 28 chief officer nominees for appointment and rejected four.

A nominee to the position of chief officer for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Collins Omondi Kamol neither honoured the invitation for vetting nor communicated to the Assembly on his non-appearance before the Committee.

The House rejected Sakaja’s nominee for chief officer Economic Planning, Ms Winnie Gathagu. Mr Justus Kathenge was rejected as chief officer for Buroughs and Sub-County Administration.

Ms Lucky Oguttu Okudo, Chief Officer for Energy and Lighting during her approval hearings on December 22, 2022. Photo: Adieri Mulaa 

Others whose nominations were rejected included Mr Bernard Buluma Kulokhama as chief officer Wellness, Nutrition and and School Feeding as well as Ms Elizabeth Njeri Njau as chief officer for Markets and Trade.

Could the five slots a blessing in disguise and possible escape route for Governor Sakaja to appease his political tormentors in the subsequent nominations?

Perhaps this provides the governor an opportunity to sit at the drawing board with the oracle for a soothing prescription that could be a survival module.

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