1 May 2017

Kenya: Sonko Shows Kidero Why Polls Won't Be Easy Ride

Photo: Salaton Mjau/The Nation
Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko speaks during the Labour Day celebration at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on May 1, 2017.

A glimpse of the looming battle for the Nairobi governor's position between incumbent Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko in the August General Election played out during Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, today.

Buoyed by his recent win of the Jubilee ticket in the recently concluded nominations, Mr Sonko received a rousing welcome from the crowd, which kept chanting his name throughout the celebrations.

The flamboyant senator known for his flashy lifestyle also stole the show when over 30 vehicles used by his Sonko Rescue Team drove past the President and other dignitaries amid cheers from the public.

FOOD PRICES

Dr Kidero and Mr Sonko are expected to face off in the August 8 General Election in a battle that political pundits have said will be fierce.

Dr Kidero received a direct ticket form the Orange Democratic Movement as he did not have a competitor and therefore was not subjected to the gruelling party primaries.

When Mr Sonko was invited to speak by the governor, he avoided politics, saying it was not a day of politics but a day to address the plight of the workers.

The senator urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the soaring price of unga (maize flour), which he said, was now beyond the reach of a majority of Kenyans.

"Mr President, the price of unga is now too high that these people gathered here can no longer afford it, please address this issue," Mr Sonko said amid deafening cheers from the crowd.

VOTE FOR SAKAJA

Dr Kidero, who spoke as the crowd chanted Sonko's name, also avoided politics and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the plight of workers.

"Life has become unmanageable for most ordinary Kenyans, the price of unga is so high that most workers spend half of their income to buy food," Dr Kidero said.

He however said the cost of doing business in Nairobi has reduced due to the policies the county government has put in place.

The governor said the increase of the minimum wage today by President Kenyatta by 18 per cent must also be reflected in the productivity of workers.

During the event, Nairobi senate aspirant and nominated MP Johnson Sakaja received a boost in his quest to become the next senator after Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli urged people to vote for him.

"In Nairobi give me Senator Sakaja. He is my son, he stayed in my house and regardless of the party. Vote for him as the next senator," he said.

ENTERTAINMENT

A handful of workers braved the chilly weather experienced in Nairobi for the better part of the day to attend the celebrations at the historic park.

Majority of the workers were hopeful that President Uhuru Kenyatta will address their plight and increase their minimum wage.

Donning different outfits showing where they earn their daily bread, the workers were entertained by different choirs and the Vitimbi crew, who staged a play urging workers to choose the leaders they want.

It was however the Atwoli Band, named after the Cotu boss, that truly moved the crowd and the dignitaries with their song Tunataka Amani (we want peace).

The Vitimbi crew, in their short play, urged employers not to force workers to vote for a particular candidate, saying it is a constitutional right for workers to vote for a candidate of their choice without being coerced.

LEADERS ATTEND EVENT

Among those who joined the boys band in a jig include Mr Atwoli, nominated senator Beatrice Elachi, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Dan Kazungu.

A host of Cabinet Secretaries and other international dignitaries were also in attendance.

The Cabinet Secretaries included Fred Matiang'i (education), Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands) Phyllis Kandie (Labour), Joseph Nkaissery (Interior), Adan Mohammed (Industrialization), Rachael Omamo (Defence), Cecil Kariuki (Youth Affairs) and Attorney General Githu Muigai.

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