By Special Correspondent
The return of prominent Nairobi businesswoman Esther Passaris into mainstream political activity has started tongues wagging in ODM circles after she was sported in the company of some powerful ODM legislators.
Ahead 2017 general elections, high ranking party officials and influential businessmen are burning midnight oil in a bid to crack an internal quintessential dilemma about the incumbent Governor’s acceptability and viability as 2017 candidate in Nairobi.
An epic political battle is seen to be underway in Nairobi after top Jubilee leadership made no secret about their desire to wrest control of Kenya’s most resourced county from the opposition. Matters are made more interesting in ODM due a hostile groundswell building up among party supporters who view Kidero as an ungrateful political beneficiary.
Kidero’s tenure has also come under intense scrutiny from party stalwarts who have questioned his loyalty to the Raila Odinga. Some of the questions being asked is why Kidero and his government has not officially hosted the CORD leader. Raila has made numerous well-publicized official visits to many of the CORD controlled counties where he has addressed the county assembly sitting, inspected uniformed guard of honour and formally met full county cabinets. No such things have happened in Nairobi County which ODM supporters like to flaunt as theirs.
Much to the consternation of ODM insiders, Kidero has instead been seen escorting and hosting Jubilee party leader Uhuru Kenyatta twice into the seat of power of Nairobi, developments which have not gone down well with some ODM party members.
Contrary to common belief that Evans Kidero is the party’s automatic candidate, party insiders intimate that Kidero’s shelf value is being evaluated and weighed against the long term political interests of the CORD coalition but even more importantly being carefully considered on its possible effects on Raila Odinga’s 2017 presidential bid.
It is against such a tension packed background that the eagerly anticipated ODM nominations scheduled for February 2017 and at which the party is expected nominate the Nairobi Gubernatorial 2017 candidate that alternatives to Kidero are now being viewed one by one.
While Esther Passaris has yet to publicly declare her candidature, she is being touted as a leading compromise candidate who can easily overrun Jubilee’s Margaret Wanjiru or Anne Waiguru. She is also seen as one who will not be intimidated by Nairobi’s maverick Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko who has declared his intention to view for Nairobi Gubernatorial. Close associates of Passaris argue that, unlike Wanjiru who was hounded out of the gubernatorial race in 2013, she is ready for the mother of all battles in 2017 in the primaries and in the main election.
Last Saturday, Governor Kidero made a surprise public return to ODM circles after a long political sabbatical and failed dalliances with Jubilee. Eyebrows were raised when Kidero made a late arrival at the well-attended rally which was addressed by key opposition leaders led by CORD leader Raila Odinga including Kidero’s deputy Jonathan Mueke. Raila was later forced to make last ditch adjustments to program to allow Governor Kidero to speak. This resulted to the Gor Mahia FC patron foregoing his earlier plans to go and watch his club take on CNaPS Sport of Madagascar in a key CAF champion league tie that was being played at the Nyayo Stadium that afternoon.