RAILA-RUTO FACE-OFF

DP Ruto pressure forces Jubilee to face Raila in Kibra

Tight race

In Summary

• The DP, who has set his eyes on the presidency in 2022, was determined to flex his political muscle and test his clout in the capital city.

• Jubilee pulled out of the twin Embakasi South and the Ugenya parliamentary by-elections to avoid a face-off with ODM.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto and other leaders and Kenyans at the funeral of musician John De Mathew, Gatanga, Murang'a County on August 24, 2019.
President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto and other leaders and Kenyans at the funeral of musician John De Mathew, Gatanga, Murang'a County on August 24, 2019.
Image: DPPS

The stage is set for a major political battle in Kibra after President Uhuru Kenyatta bowed to pressure from his deputy William Ruto and allowed Jubilee to face ODM in the by-election.

After days of intense behind-the-scene negotiations, the Jubilee Party declared n Monday that it will field a candidate to face Raila Odinga’s ODM in the poll on November 7.

The move is seen a blow to ODM, which was hoping for the ruling party’s backing following the handshake and cooperation between Raila and Uhuru. 

 

“Following consultation with the party leadership with respect to Kibra constituency, we would like to communicate to our membership that the Jubilee Party will be fielding a candidate in the forthcoming Kibra Constituency by-election,” secretary general Raphael Tuju announced in a statement.

This makes the contest a three-horse race among ODM, Jubilee and Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC.

Raila’s former presidential campaign manager Eliud Owalo will contest for the seat on an ANC ticket.

Uhuru, the Star has established, was reluctant to challenge ODM for the seat in the area perceived as the opposition’s stronghold.

Following consultation with the party leadership with respect to Kibra constituency, we would like to communicate to our membership that the Jubilee Party will be fielding a candidate in the forthcoming Kibra Constituency by-election
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju

However, the DP, who has set his eyes on the presidency in 2022, was determined to flex his political muscle and test his clout in the capital city.

Jubilee pulled out of the twin Embakasi South and the Ugenya parliamentary by-elections to avoid a face-off with ODM. The Orange Democratic Movement lost both races where it awarded tickets instead of letting voters decide.

This time voters will choose from a list of vetted candidates.

 
 

Ruto is said to be fronting football Star McDonald Mariga for the race.

Mariga is a darling of football fans in the country having played for the Harambee Stars and big teams in Europe.

However, he has never tried his hand at politics

Mariga’s name was among the five on a list that was circulated on social media last evening by State House director Dennis Itumbi.

Tuju quickly dismissed the list as fake.

“We have received names of people whom I cannot recall, about five, but it is not the one on social media. That is fake,” he told the Star.

The SG hinted at directly nominating a candidate for the seat, adding that the party had already communicated to Ithe EBC the method they will use to pick a candidate.

“We have communicated to IEBC because the method we will use does not necessarily need to confirm with the deadline,” he added.

Raila enjoys fanatical support in Kibra and therefore Ruto’s push for a candidate can be seen as an attempt to test his political might in readiness for the 2022 polls.

Ruto is said to have been buoyed by the surprise victory of Langata MP Nixon Korir, his close ally, in the 2017 General Election.

Korir, popularly known as the General in the constituency, beat ODM’s Oscar Omoke.

ODM national chairman John Mbadi and director of political affairs Opiyo Wandayi downplayed the entry of Jubilee in the race, saying that Raila’s party will ‘easily retain the seat.’

“Maybe they think they have chances but as ODM we are prepared for the contest. ODM is the most popular party. So it will be easy for us,” Mbadi said.

Wandayi said, “As a party, we don’t choose the opponent we shall face in the elections because we are ever prepared to face any opponent at any given time. Kibra is an ODM zone.  We are winning this election hands down irrespective of the number of opponents.”

Raila and ODM have controlled Kibra and Lang'ata for decades and the party was expected to floor Jubilee in the two constituencies in 2017.

Political observers said, however,that ODM lost the seat because of the disorganisation wthin Nasa.  

All the five Nasa-affiliate parties fielded candidates for the seat, splitting the vote.

Tuju said that the party reached the decision after their "analysis and consultations" showed that the Jubilee was competitive in the forthcoming political contest.

“It is noteworthy that the neighbouring Lang'ata constituency was won by the Jubilee Party candidate, contrary to conventional political analysis,” he noted.

Tuju invited all party members interested to contest for the party ticket to submit their applications to the Party National Election Board.

On Sunday, Raila unveiled 24 aspirants who will be battle for the party primaries set for Saturday this week.

Owallo, a management consultant, is seen as a thorn in the flesh for ODM because of his grassroots networks in the area.

He is a household name in Kibra and has given donations to residents in times of need.

At a rally held at Kamukunji Grounds in Kibera, Raila paraded the hopefuls and gave them an opportunity to sell their agendas to the mammoth crowd.

The seat was left vacant by the death of MP Ken Okoth.

Okoth’s brother, Imran, who was initially viewed as the party’s preferred candidate until Raila ruled out direct nominations, was heckled at the rally for overseeing the cremation of Okoth’s body against tradition.

Raila is said to be keen to forestall a revolt that could work in the favour of the party’s rivals and on Sunday, he promised a free and fair primaries.

REVOLT

Raila is said to be keen to forestall a revolt that could work in the favour of the party’s rivals and on Sunday, he promised a free and fair primaries.

Imran explained to the charged crowd that he was not to blame, pleading that it was not his wish but Okoth’s wish. Imran was Okoth’s personal assistant and was the man on the ground overseeing development projects when his brother was away for cancer treatment.

Christopher Odhiambo, popularly known as DJ Chris Darlin, has also thrown his hat into the ring and enjoys a fan base in the area. On Sunday, he knelt down for Raila, begging for a ticket.

Dagoretti High School principal Peter Orero, popularly known as  Orero Mwalimu, is also said to be enjoying the support of most parents in Kibra because of his philanthropy. He has helped many poor students get scholarships.

Yesterday, the ODM National Election Board chaired by nominated Senator Judith Pareno vetted the aspirants for suitability, including ltheir evel of loyalty to the party.

Besides Darlin, Orero and Imran, other candidates  vetted included Stephen Okello, Tony Sine, Reuben Ojijo, Makosa Mbarare, Brian Owino, Erick Obayi, James Agumba, Patrick Lumumba Owade, Edward Ketta, Gore Mohamed, Alhad Adam, Bernard Okoth, John Otieno, Faiz Magak, Raphael Dudi, Samson Ooko and Melvin Moraa.

However, the number of candidates cleared to take part in the primary had not been made known by press time as the vetting was still going on.

 


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