Has Maina Kamanda Abandoned Raila Odinga’s Azimio For Kenya Kwanza?

By The Weekly Vision

The continued absence of veteran Nairobi politician Maina Kamanda from the political arena has led to speculation that he could be on his way out of the Azimio Coalition. In the run-up to the 2022 elections, Mr Kamanda was a staunch Raila Odinga campaigner.

Mr. Kamanda accompanied Raila Odinga and his Azimio team to almost all political campaign rallies across the country. Mr Kamanda, a member of the Jubilee Party, had initially indicated that he would run for the Nairobi Senatorial race; however, due to the power-sharing arrangements between Jubilee and ODM, the senatorial seat was allocated to ODM, and Kamanda had to swallow the humble pie and withdraw from the race.

There were rumours that he had been promised a state job should Raila Odinga capture the presidency. After UDA’s William Ruto won the presidential race and the same was upheld by the Supreme Court of Kenya, Mr Kamanda has never been seen in public. As to whether he has taken a sabbatical leave from politics or silently retired from politics altogether, it is not known. He never participated in any of Azimio’s public demonstrations.

There are indications that he could be on his way out of Azimio and may soon join the Kenya Kwanza brigade in readiness for the 2027 elections. Kenya Kwanza is busy planning on how to win more parliamentary seats in Nairobi in 2027, and one of the constituencies being targeted is Starehe. In the last elections, Azimio bagged 13 out of the 17 parliamentary seats in Nairobi.

According to sources, there are only two politicians who can defeat the incumbent Amos Mwango of the Jubilee Party. The two are Mr Kamanada and former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru. Former Kamkunji MP Simon Mbugua, who was the UDA candidate, lost the race after garnering 35,000 votes against Mwango’s 50,700 votes. However, Ruto garnered 43,140 votes in Starehe, meaning 12,000 voters voted for Ruto but did not vote for Mr Mbugua.

According to sources, UDA believes that Mbugua and former MP Charles Kanyi Njagua cannot make any serious political impacts as far as Starehe politics is concerned and that only veteran politicians like Kamanda and Bishop Wanjiru can deliver the seat to UDA.

However, those who know Bishop Wanjiru say she cannot accept a downgrade of her political ambitions, having run for a senatorial seat twice and even suspended her gubernatorial ambitions in the last general elections.

As for Kamanda, abandoning Baba for Ruto will be to his advantage, as he can easily win back the seat he lost to Bishop Wanjiru.