• Yusuf says his decision to pull out of Wajir West race had nothing to do with ODM
• Jubilee Secretary General says Uhuru and Raila negotiated
Who between Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and former Wajir West by-election ODM candidate Elmi Yusuf is telling the truth about the latter's pullout from the April 25 contest?
Tuju holds that President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga negotiated for Yusuf to withdraw from the race in favour of Jubilee’s Ahmed Kolosh.
But Yusuf on Tuesday said ODM had no role in his decision to step down.
He said his decision followed intervention by the Degodia clan which feared his candidature would create divisions in the community.
"I have today (Tuesday) withdrawn from the Wajir West by-election following days of negotiations within our community. ODM had nothing to do with it,” he said.
But Tuju told the press at Jubilee headquarters in Nairobi that ODM was reciprocating Jubilee's gesture in the April 5 Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections. The ruling party did not field candidates.
Movement for Democracy and Growth Party's David Ochieng won in Ugenya against ODM's Chris Karan. Wiper's Julius Mawathe thrashed ODM's Ishrad Sumra in Embakasi South.
"We would like to put it on record that this withdrawal by ODM follows high-level consultations by the leadership of the two parties. It may also be recalled that such consultations informed similar decisions by Jubilee not to field candidates in by-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi South," Tuju said.
On Tuesday afternoon ODM got intelligence reports that Yusuf had been convinced to step down. ODM director of elections and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, in a tactical move, issued a statement saying the party would not field a candidate.
He said the decision was arrived at after consultations between Jubilee and ODM.
“Just as Jubilee did in the recent by-elections, ODM will not take sides in the contest in Wajir West. We wish victory to the best candidate,” Junet said.
Moments after Junet issued the statement, National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale said ODM had feared being humiliated again.
“It is free fall for ODM. They lost in Ugenya and Embakasi South. Now they have conceded early defeat in Wajir West. The hustler influence is real,” he said on his Twitter handler.
The DP on Tuesday hosted MPs and community leaders from the Degodia clan in his Karen residence.
Among those in attendance were Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud, MPs Adan Keynan (Eldas), Rashid Kassim (Wajir East) and Ahmed Bashane (Tarbaj), nominated Senator Farhiya Ali and former presidential adviser Abdikadir Mohamed.
Tuju said the political deals by the two parties are intended to reduce political tension and polarisation.
"It is imperative that our collective leadership always acts in the best interest of the country. That we do everything possible for the benefit of the current and future generations," Tuju said.
The Cabinet Secretary without portfolio said they will campaign to ensure Kolosh, who will be facing off with Daud Mohamed (Ford Kenya), Ibrahim Mohamud (Kanu) and Abass Nunow (Agano), re-captures the seat.
“We take this opportunity to appreciate the gesture of goodwill from Yusuf of standing down in favour of Kolosh who remains our candidate and nominee for Jubilee. He enjoys the full support of the party, the President and the Deputy President,” Tuju said.
He was not aware if Yusuf had quit ODM and rejoined Jubilee.
Edited by Pamela Wanambisi