Survey: Dennis Waweru leads the race for Nairobi County Governor

Waweru has 60% against Bishop Wanjiru's 40%

Former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru

Former Dagoretti South Member of Parliament (MP) Dennis Waweru is the most preferred candidate for Nairobi County Governor in next year’s general election according to a survey carried out by ‘The Centre for African Progress’.

In the survey that sampled a total of 2,500 Nairobi registered voters, Waweru emerges at top with 60% against Bishop Margaret Wanjiru’s 40%. Waweru rides on Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja banner as banks on Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.

Of all the potential ODM candidates such as Westlands Member of Parliament (MP) Tim Wanyonyi and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful Peter Kenneth, it is only Waweru who stands a chance to clinch the governor’s seat.

When matched against Bishop Wanjiru, Hon. Wanyonyi gets 44% against Wanjiru’s 56%, meaning that the handshake team will lose the contest to UDA if Wanyonyi is the torchbearer. Peter Kenneth scores even less at 42% against Wanjiru’s 58%.

One reason why Waweru performs best as the handshake candidate is that he has the ability to attract new votes from the Mount Kenya block that has proven to be extremely loyal to Ruto. Snatching even 20% of the Mt. Kenya Nairobi vote will prove significant in a tight race.

A candidate from the so-called “Western block” will attract zero or insignificant vote numbers from Mt. Kenya voters, thus giving the UDA candidate the winning space. Mount Kenya voters are slightly above 1 Million in Nairobi’s 2.3 million registered voters.

An interesting observation is that other Mt. Kenya candidates such as Peter Kenneth do not carry the strength that Waweru has in this contest. The respondents in this survey were quick to note that Waweru will be a special and deserving handshake candidate given his push for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that was widely supported and marketed by Raila Odinga.

In the survey, Nairobians were asked to state their major concern, and 92% identified the economy as their main problem.

Under the economy, factors such as unemployment, theft of public resources, and poor investment choices came up. 5% of those interviewed identified Covid-19 as their top issue, a surprising score that shows how Kenyans have grown confident with the possibility that the coronavirus is now under control.

This comes amid concerns over a new variant, Omicron, that is said to have the ability to mutate wildly fast, thus making it difficult to deal with.

Another issue the survey revealed is that a majority of Nairobi residents, 80%, feel that the Nairobi County is headed in the wrong direction. Factors mentioned by interviewees who feel that the county is not on the right path include high levels of insecurity, high unemployment rates especially among the youth, stagnation in development, and undefined leadership at the county level.

As we head to party primaries in the coming year, this study is quite instructive for the political parties that are keen on winning the City County’s gubernatorial seat that is viewed as the ultimate prize of devolution.

The study has a margin of error of 1.3 percentage points and was conducted between the 2nd and 4th of December 2021.

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