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Sonko, Kenneth skip Nairobi’s governors debate

The first public debate for candidates seeking the Nairobi governor’s seat was snubbed by two key contenders, while those who took part ganged up against incumbent Evans Kidero.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, who is seeking the seat as an independent candidate, did not attend while Jubilee’s Mike Mbuvi Sonko sent his running mate Polycarp Igathe, who was sent away by the organisers on the ground that the debate was strictly for the candidates.

Later in the day, Mr Igathe said the event was “a baraza for Mr Kidero, sponsored by his youth wing named the Kenya Alliance of Residents Association”.

“The debate was not about the personality of the governor but issues affecting Nairobians … It was biased and farcical,” he said.

When asked the whereabouts of his boss, Mr Igathe curtly replied: “The candidate will appear for more serious debate.”

Attempts to get Mr Kenneth were futile as he neither picked up calls nor responded to text messages.

Six candidates took part in the two-hour debate, enumerating their visions and policies in health, infrastructure, corruption, county debt, traffic jams, crime and how to promote business.

CARTELS

As expected, it was Mr Kidero who was on the receiving end with rivals accusing him of presiding over cartels.

Portraying himself as a candidate standing for integrity, Mr Miguna Miguna painted a picture of a corrupt Kidero.

“Mr Kidero … cannot dismantle City Hall cartels. They are stealing land and the governor has acknowledged as much but is unable to apprehend those involved as he is part of the problem,” he said.

Agano Party’s Michael Mutinda said it was time for people of integrity to replace Mr Kidero.

“We must have a governor who will give an account to God and the voters,” said the 41-year-old who kept describing himself as a Bible teacher, businessman and born-again.

Mr Godfrey Wanyoike, an independent just like Mr Miguna, said a clean government was necessary for citizens to enjoy services.

“We need workers of integrity and accountability,” he said.

Mr Lawrence Kamau Macharia of the Party of Democratic Unity indicted Kenyans for celebrating wealth over hard work. He said that, if elected, the buck of corruption reports would stop at his doorstep.

KIDERO ADMITS CORRUPTION

Mr Kidero admitted that there was corruption in his administration, but insisted that the devolved unit had taken action against suspects, adopted technology in payment of services and established the enterprise resource management planning system “which monitors procurement”.

“We have dismissed more than 300 people suspected of corruption. It is easy to point fingers as my opponents are doing but I understand they are looking for the job,” Mr Kidero said.

The candidates acknowledged that the problem of hawkers was tricky. They agreed that the problem could not be solved by brute force.

They said getting rid of roundabouts was one of the main ways of addressing the traffic jam menace. The candidates also talked of introducing light railways, subways and getting matatus out of the city centre.

On environment, the PDU man said he would reduce wastage and install high pressure pipes to ensure water got to every city resident.