Kibra's by-election clashes

September 5, 2019 was a big day for the Orange Democratic Movement as they released a list of 10 candidates approved for the nomination for the Kibra parliamentary seat after falling vacant following the death of the then Member of Parliament, Ken Okoth.

The 10 included: Benard Otieno Okoth, Stephen Okello Oguwa, John Milla Otieno, Christone Odhiambo Owino, Peter Ochieng’ Orero, Benson Musungu, Brian Shem Owino, Tony Ogola Sira Sine, Reuben William Ayako Ojijo and Obaricks Eric Ochieng’ Obayi. The nominations took place on Saturday 5th September, 2019 to determine who among the 10 aspirants would fly the party’s flag in the Kibra by-election slated for November 7.

ODM’s rival Jubilee Party was at its heels to present their best candidate too. Several aspirants expressed their interest in the Jubilee ticket. Among them include: Morris Peter Kinyanjui, Doreen Waisike, Said Ibrahim, Walter Trenk and former international footballer McDonald Mariga who submitted his nomination application papers for Kibra Parliamentary seat at the Jubilee Headquarters on September 2, 2019.

Mariga was picked as the Jubilee candidate for Kibra by-election. The news came after National Elections Board Chairman, Andrew Musangi approved Mariga’s credentials and described him as a man who had “enduring connections with the people of Kibra”. This approval was based on his knowledge of the party policies, ability to finance campaigns, his understanding of parliamentary work, his alignment with Jubilee’s manifesto, ability to deliver its mandate and his vision for Kibra.

He was set to battle it out with ODM’s Imram Okoth, ANC’s Eliud Owalo and FORD Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi. His nomination came with mixed reactions and it’s no surprise that this has led to the recent unrest in Kibra. This has generated a lot of heat in the Jubilee Party between the core party heads, Deputy President William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Before looking at that it’s important to understand the events that led to brushing of feathers between the leaders.

On 12th October, all eyes were fixed on the 1: 59 INEOS Challenge with Kenyans taking to social media to congratulate the greatest marathoner of all time, Eliud Kipchoge. The atmosphere in Kibra was unimaginably chilly. Well, before that nobody would have thought events would camouflage to being bloody and chaotic. The unstoppable McDonald Mariga Wanyama was at his best in convincing the Kibra residents that he deserved their vote. This raised eyebrows among ODM supporters who found his popularity alarming. Mariga had managed to pull a sizeable crowd when his rivals pelted his car with stones and in one instance tyres were set on fire on the middle of the road just a few meters from a towering billboard with Mariga’s face.

This came a few days after the Orange Democratic Movement petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to open a probe into rigging claims. The result was party leaders like ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi accusing Deputy President William Ruto of bribing voters and raising his concerns on the integrity of the November Kibra by-election.

The Kibra by-election might just be one of the most heated by-elections in the history of this nation. It comes as a battle to control Nairobi’s politics which for a very long time has been a stronghold for the ODM party. It is no surprise that the ODM party is keen not loose Kibra off their grasp after they lost Kasarani and Lang’ata counterparts to their rival Jubilee Party. ODM’s party leader Raila Odinga has exchanged words with Deputy President William Ruto accusing him of using McDonald Mariga as a project to doctor the November Polls.  

“The stakes are high, and you have probably heard some people say they will do whatever it takes to capture the seat…” said John Mbadi responding to Ruto’s earlier claims that he would capture the seat from Raila’s Party.

It seems the Kibra by-election is nothing but a contest between Raila Odinga and William Ruto to test their popularity ahead of the 2022 General Elections which appears to interfere with President Uhuru’s building bridges initiative. Although the latter was keen to support a peace deal, well politics comes with its share of patience and compromise and maybe his pawn might be the reason he wins a checkmate.

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Address Nairobi, Kenya

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Kibra's by-election clashes

Nairobi, Kenya