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Mixed signals about an election for a new governor in Nairobi

In what should be a safe seat for their combined forces, Kenyatta and Odinga seem to have reservations about the vote

The next pitched battle between Deputy President William Ruto and the 'handshake' coalition of President Uhuru Kenyatta and erstwhile opposition leader Raila Odinga is centred over whether and when a by-election to replace impeached Nairobi governor Mike Sonko should be held.

The 'handshake coalition' moved quickly to install Anne Mwenda as deputy governor of Nairobi and three days later as acting governor without an election (AC Vol 62 No 2, The race for Nairobi).

However, the electoral commission has warned that not holding a by-election would risk a constitutional crisis, while Ruto is calling for a poll fresh off the back of a by-election win for his candidate in the Coastal Msambweni seat (AC Vol 62 No 1, Handshake to face poll test). Sonko, meanwhile, is still challenging his dismissal.

The Kenyatta/Odinga alliance's fears of a poll are surprising. Nairobi county has never been a Ruto stronghold, and the numbers would suggest that a Kenyatta/Odinga-backed candidate would be favourite to win.



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