A new survey by the Centre for African Progress (CAP) shows that Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja would lose the governorship to Embakasi East MP Babu Owino if elections were held today.
While Owino has not openly declared his interest in the seat, there appears to be tremendous pressure on him to do so, arguing that he is the best chance the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has of capturing the seat.
In a pre-nomination scenario where all candidates contest the governor’s seat, Owino leads both potential ODM and UDA candidates with 42%, followed by Sakaja on 23%. James Gakuya has 12% while Tim Wanyonyi has 11%.
Gakuya has expressed interest in the seat on a UDA ticket while there are rumours that Tim Wanyonyi, the current MP for Westlands, may want to contest on an ODM ticket.
Gakuya currently represents Embakasi North constituency and is eyeing the Nairobi County UDA chairmanship, where he faces stiff competition from city politician Badi Ali.
In a match-up between Sakaja and Owino, 58% of respondents chose Owino, while 40% opted for the incumbent. 2% had no opinion.
On the other hand, Sakaja does better against Tim Wanyonyi, with 55% against Wanyonyi’s 43%. The remaining 3% did not choose between the two.
The poll, conducted between 16 and 17 November 2023, exposes Sakaja’s weakness as a candidate who rode Ruto’s Kikuyu community wave to office.
With Luhya, Luo, Kamba and Kisii voters breaking strongly for Azimio’s Polycarp Igathe, a candidate Raila Odinga has since dismissed as a mistake, it is the Kikuyu voters who handed the governorship to Johnson Sakaja.
According to the survey, only 18% of respondents approve of Sakaja’s work, while a whopping 72% think he has failed as governor, citing chaotic transport, rising insecurity, county corruption and a failed school feeding programme as some of the reasons they think he is unfit to be governor.