, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – It was all song and dance for supporters of ODM’s George Aladwa who clinched the plum and coveted post of Nairobi Mayor after trouncing James Mwangi Gakuya of PNU in a hotly contested poll held in Nairobi.
In what can be described as a deviation from the old ways where such polls were characterised by insults and the hurling of chairs, the election was largely peaceful and was conducted with a heavy presence of police to quell any disturbances.
Former Mayor Geophrey Majiwa, who presided over the election, announced that Mr Aladwa of the Orange Democratic Movement – who has been acting mayor – was elected by 57 councilors against Mr Gakuya’s 39 votes.
“I want to thank you very much for conducting a peaceful election and to also congratulate my brother George Aladwa,” he declared.
The poll began with all the councilors signing the attendance register to ensure that only those present during the session cast their ballot.
“Mr chairman we will go by the attendance register and I want any member who has not signed the attendance register to do so because if you have not done so you will not vote,” the director of legal affairs Aduma Owuor declared before the start of the poll.
Security was tight at City Hall and its environs amid fears that rival camps might clash and unleash violence.
Heavily armed police officers blocked City Hall Way and roads around the council headquarters since morning, to ensure peace prevailed throughout.
The newly elected mayor called on all councillors to unite and work together for the good of the city.
“We will now begin the journey of hard work without any political divisions. Let us go on as we used to since we are all brothers,” he stated.
He thanked the councillors for considering him for the post and promised to do his best in the dispensation of his duties.
The Party of National Unity candidate conceded defeat but attributed his downfall to divisions among councillors allied to the party.
He claimed that some of them voted against him as a result of intimidation and threats to their lives.
“With our votes together, we could at least state that we have won a good battle but we have lost even minus our votes,” he observed. “This is only due to the supremacy politics and this has cost PNU the seat.”
He further alleged that there were some powerful individuals within the party who instigated his downfall during the mayoral election.
“I am not going to blame members of the council because this force was too tremendous that we were too overwhelmed,” he admitted.
With Mr Aladwa sailing through successfully, Kileleshwa ward councillor William Kinyanyi secured the post of deputy mayor after nominated councillor Simba Arati stepped down for him.
The decision was arrived at after wide consultations by ODM councillors behind closed doors.
Mr Arati described the decision to step down as a difficult one but stated that he agreed to it in a bid to unite all councillors.
Councillor Kinyanyi on the other hand vowed to do all in his power to serve the residents of Nairobi.