, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – A day before the Nairobi mayoral elections, incumbent Mayor Godffrey Majiwa says he is ready to defend his seat at the council’s helm.
The polls are set for Monday at Charter Hall where Mr Majiwa who is the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate, will face Mutunga Mutungi of the Party of National Unity (PNU).
Mr Majiwa told Capital News on Sunday that Monday’s poll was going to be a walkover. "This is a very clear win because our opponents have no numbers," he said.
Speaking on telephone, Mr Majiwa said the ODM party nominations days earlier were tougher than the mayoral poll that lay ahead.
"Councillors have already nominated me. They have seen my track record from the time I got into office and they are confident of my leadership," he said pointing to the fact that ODM had a majority of numbers at City Hall and that they would be polling for him on Monday.
ODM has 53 councillors against PNU’s 45.
The Mayor’s challenger Mr Mutungi is a nominated councillor and the current finance committee chairman.
He ironically played a key part in securing Mr Majiwa’s win in the first place. It was Mr Mutungi who together with Councillor George Aladwa who struck the power sharing deal that led to Mr Majiwa’s swearing in.
Future plans for Nairobi
On Sunday, the incumbent mayor said his slate was clean and vowed to put City Hall’s books in order if councillors gave him a second mandate.
"I have put in place the program of solid waste management and want to ensure the city council is effectively controlling garbage in the city," he said.
He continued: "I have put in place measures to ensure financial management in the council is put under checks and balances (and ensure that) the entire council’s structures are automated."
Mr Majiwa’s track record was not entirely blameless according to critics even within his own ODM party. During the campaign period, some ODM councillors claimed that he was part of a far-from-honest land deal meant to secure new burial grounds for Nairobi.
It remains unclear if the acquisition of land for the undertaking in Athi River was above board.
But more tangibly, a water crisis in the City and the council’s slow handling of the Nakumatt fire tragedy in January have worried Nairobi residents about City Hall’s responsiveness to the Capital’s needs, and how much their performance may be linked to the man at the top.
"I am sure these matters will be resolved," he said. "I have received a lot of messages from residents saying they are appreciating the work we are doing. They are saying they have received water since the time I started fighting the illegal (water) connections. Right now, (Nairobi City Council) does not have the capacity to fight huge fires and this is something that we have put to the mother ministry (Local Government) to ensure that we are properly equipped."
In February, Mr Majiwa was sworn in after a symbolic power-sharing deal struck because he and PNU candidate Njoroge Chege tied with 42 votes each.
The two parties agreed that the PNU candidate would serve as deputy, just days after the national power sharing deal was signed between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.