Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe has retracted his comments that have elicited mixed reactions from residents.
Igathe, who was accused of profiling the Somali community, made it clear that his remarks were not intended to be taken as referring to specific people but rather to the equitable distribution of services, employment opportunities, and economic benefits within the capital.
His comments followed a widely shared video in which he claimed three unnamed Somali MCAs were in charge of the county assembly and were holding their Kikuyu counterparts hostage.
“Nairobi has 45 MCAs, who are kikuyu, I can tell you they are all controlled by three Somalis. That is a fact. The capture is too serious. even yesterday they were doing things that are completely illegal and illicit,” Igathe told the Kenya Private Sector Alliance earlier on in the week.
But the former Equity Bank boss has apologized, claiming that he was misinterpreted because he was merely talking about how easy it should be for all Nairobi residents to have access to services and possibilities for employment.
“I would like to say that if the broader Somali community or anyone was hurt or inadvertently offended by comments made in the context of engagements on the campaign trail, I am sorry for any such offence or hurt,” he said.
The former Nairobi deputy governor said he will create opportunities for all should he form the next administration.
“Our response in our manifesto in this regard will be about creating opportunities for everyone and ensuring that no one group of people whomsoever they may be, enjoys more than their fair share of services or economic opportunities than others,” he said.
“Our response will be to make Nairobi more democratic, transparent, and sustainable for everyone. It is this cry and aspiration of the people of Nairobi, that we are responding to and are offering ourselves on 9th August 2022, to Champion.”
Igathe gave the Somali community in Nairobi and beyond the reassurance that he will appreciate their cooperation in making the city a better place to live and work.
He was responding after Garissa Township MP Aden Duale criticized him on Saturday for using the Somali community as a cheap political ploy.
The former Majority leader in the National Assembly claimed that Igathe had shown himself to be a tribal chief and was unfit to govern Nairobi, which is home to 44 different Kenyan ethnic groups.
“Profiling communities for cheap political expediency is the height of desperation. Nairobians are discerning and will totally reject such a poor project.”