Azimio Executive Director Raphael Tuju on Wednesday, May 11 stated that the coalition is okay with the former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko contesting in the Mombasa County gubernatorial race.
Speaking during an interview with KTN News, Tuju revealed that the 12-member council reached an agreement that Sonko, who will be vying on a Wiper Party ticket, is at liberty to do so provided it does not cause negative competition in the party.
He added that the Wiper Party leader is free to campaign for Sonko in Mombasa, while still campaigning for Azimio’s presidential aspirant, Raila Odinga.”If Kalonzo goes to Mombasa, it is within his right to campaign for his candidate and if he can get the Wiper aspirant to win the election even without the six-piece, then it is to his benefit,” Tuju stated.
The former Cabinet Secretary intimated that Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho had brought the issue before the council, questioning Wiper’s invasion in one of ODM’s strongholds.
Further, the council ruled that Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga should focus on the national vote and let other affiliate parties square it out for other seats. Tuju will, however, take up a prefecture role to tame any competition that could threaten the coalition party’s unity.
“There is a gentleman’s agreement and what we have agreed as a way forward, that because Raila is the Azimio candidate, we want him to stay above the fray. If Joho goes campaigning in Mombasa, it is within his right and so is Kalonzo,” he reiterated.
Joho, alongside ODMs gubernatorial candidate Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal have openly castigated the move by Kalonzo’s party fronting a candidate, promising a fierce battle at the ballot.Sonko’s entry into the race has caused jitters, with recent popularity polls placing him in second (28 per cent) 14 shy of Abdulswammad and ahead of UDA’s Hassan Omar.
Notably the eligibility of the former Nairobi County boss to contest in the election is still a matter of debate. In a recent interview, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)’s Abdi Guliye noted that the commission would be deliberating on the matter and give a way forward.
The sibling rivalry has reignited the conversation about Azimio’s zoning strategy ahead of the August 9 poll.
While announcing his exit from the coalition party on May 9, Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua protested the alleged attempt by the One Kenya Alliance principal to have his county into a Wiper-only zone.