Nairobi gubernatorial candidates Johnson Sakaja and Polycarp Igathe traded barbs during Monday night’s debate on their suitability to run the affairs of Kenya’s richest county.
Sakaja who arrived 20 minutes into the debate claimed he was late to give Igathe a head start since he is used to being given things for free. The Nairobi senator made the remarks in reference to Igathe joining the race late after other able candidates including ODM’s Tim Wanyonyi were forced to shelve their ambitions in his favor.
The UDA candidate further chided his opponent for prematurely leaving office in 2018 when he served as the deputy to the former governor Mike Sonko who was later impeached by operatives of the Jubilee government.
Sakaja argued that Sonko might not have been impeached had Igathe stayed put.
“Governor Sonko would not have been facing an impeachment if you had stuck in office. In fact if you stuck in office, you probably have been the incumbent governor. There would be no mess in Nairobi,” Sakaja said.
He pointed out that some of the major problems facing Nairobi County emanated from Igathe’s walk out as warned the people of the capital against choosing a man who might easily quit if push comes shove.
Sakaja described Igathe’s early exit as a matter of integrity and that he should be blamed for the troubles, failures and consequences of Sonko’s tenure.
“Integrity defines a leader not only in public but also in private. Integrity is not about being perfect; it’s about taking responsibility,” he added.
Igathe resigned abruptly in January 2018 citing lack of trust between him and Sonko. He had gone into office with the mentality that he was a technocrat and a manager who had the brains to run the county unlike his boss (Sonko) who only enjoyed the political support from the people of Nairobi.
“It has been a great pleasure serving Nairobians and will continue to serve as an adviser, beyond my previous position of Nairobi county deputy governor,” Igathe tweeted.
Senator Sakaja and Mr Igathe faced off in the second half of the debate after five other candidates who polled below 5% in an aggregation of polls, faced off in a battle to win the City’s 2,415,310 votes.