The CORD Coalition has suffered a major blow in its plan to cement its dominance in Nairobi politics following the resignation of a key activist. Richard Kavemba Mutinda, a member of the Wiper Party who contested the Nairobi gubernatorial post in 2013, announced his defection to Jubilee last week.
“I will be seeking your support for the position of Nairobi Senator on a Jubilee ticket. I believe I have what it takes to properly execute the mandate of the office of the senator which is to represent Nairobians in the Senate, legislate and play oversight over the devolved funds given to the counties from the National budget”, Kavemba, who is popularly known as ‘Mwalimu’, said in a social media post.
A recognised actor on the Wiper wing of CORD, Mwalimu is expected to gun for the Nairobi senate seat which will fall vacant at the end of this parliamentary term. Its current holder Mike Sonko will run for governorship.
Kavemba once served as an elected councilor for Nairobi’s Umoja Ward in the then larger Embakasi Constituency (2002-2007), CDF secretary for Embakasi constituency under Fendinard Waititu (2008-2012), Personal Assistant to the Minority Whip in the Senate, Hon Muthama, under the Parliamentary Service Commission (2013-2016).
Kavemba is a graduate of Education Degree from Maseno University and currently pursuing Masters in Arts in Project Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi.
Kavemba’s defection is just the latest in a series of moves by Jubilee to wrest the Nairobi governorship from CORD and Kidero. The coalition, which is determined to neutralise the Kamba community’s support for CORD, recently reached out to former Kilome MP Harun Mwau, who is toying with joining forces with Jubilee.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is deputized by Jonathan Mueke who is a Kamba like Kavemba. Kavemba was forced to go to court in 2013 to challenge a decision to have Mueke as Kidero’s deputy while he had won the party ticket. The court ruled in his favour and was allowed to contest on a Wiper ticket was ranked fourth in the election results.
So far no candidate has declared interest in the position of Nairobi Senate and Kavemba’s defection from Wiper to Jubilee will have a negative effect on CORD as he is leaving with a chunk of opposition supporters. Those who vied for Senate position have turned their guns on Governor’s seat including former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru and the Senator Sonko. Wanjiru decamped from ODM and joined TNA, but Jubilee elected leaders in Nairobi have not publicly declared their support.
Former cabinet secretary for Devolution, Anne Waiguru, has also declared that she will vie for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in the 2017 general elections. Waiguru will seek the Jubilee ticket, as will Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, who is also the national chairman of TNA.
Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru has also declared his interest and is seen as a frontrunner having been endorsed by the Central Kenya Parliamentary Group for the seat