Candidates go on charm offensive in Kibra visits
George Kebaso and Kinyuru Munuhe
Candidates in the November 7 Kibra parliamentary by-election went on charm offensive in the informal settlement yesterday, promising to change voters’ living standards.
Keen to reap from successes of former area MP, the late Ken Okoth, the candidates vowed to give education issues priority.
Okoth was known for his passion for education and just allocation of bursary to needy learners. The seat fell vacant after the MP succumbed to cancer in July.
ODM’s Imran Okoth, McDonald Mariga (Jubilee Party), Eliud Owalo (ANC) and Ford Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi pitched tent in various areas in Kibra.
Speaking at Kamukunji grounds, Imran vowed to build onto the foundation laid by his late brother Okoth. He was accompanied by MPs George Aladwa (Makadara), Antony Oluoch (Mathare), ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and party leader Raila Odinga’s daughter, Ruth.
“I am ready to safeguard my brother’s legacy. I will ensure all children of Kibra access bursaries and also address drainage systems and enhance security in the constituency.
The MPs called on Kibra residents to ensure ODM retains the seat.
“The seat means a lot to the party boss, who has taken it upon himself to lead the campaigns for Imran,” Sifuna said in reference to Raila, who represented Kibra in Parliament for a long time in the past.
Oluoch told residents that Imran is their best bet, as he was keen on finishing what his brother had started.
“His election will ensure a continuity of what Ken had initiated during his tenure,” he said.
Aladwa said Imran is best placed to pursue development projects touching on health, youth and women empowerment.
At the Central Church, Mariga asked residents to use the upcoming by-election in to free themselves from the “shackles of the Opposition”.
“Kibra has been in the Opposition for long. It is time for people of Kibra to try the government and enjoy the development that comes with it,” he said.
The former international football star said he has a progressive manifesto with clear plans to transform Kibra and change lives of residents.
“If you give me a chance, I will continue with the late MP’s legacy in education, fix drainage systems and empower women and youth. We have a good manifesto that addresses a number of challenges including raising the education standards and sports development, among other things,” said Mariga.
He termed it unfortunate that Kibra residents were still grappling with poor sanitation, lack of water and unemployment.
Mariga, whose nomination by Jubilee seems to have split the ruling, was accompanied by Chapia Chapia, a man he floored in the interviews conducted by the party’s National Election Board.
And at Lindi PAG Church, ANC candidate Owalo vowed to reconstitute Kibra NG-CDF board to incorporate members from all communities living in the constituency.
“Why would you bring in your wife and brother? It is the people of Kibra who should sit in the (CDF) board, not relatives,” he said, referring to Imran, who was a CDF official when his brother was MP.
“We will establish employment centres, seek partnerships to bring fire engines and fix drainage systems in Kibra, which has been a perennial problem,” he added.
Earlier, a Luhya lobby group declared support for Butichi of Ford Kenya.
The Obulala Movement accused the western political leaders of failing to unite them to capitalise on their populous vote bloc.
“The reason we are here is to make a declaration of the Luhya candidate in the Kibra by elections. There is a difference between a Luhya candidate and a candidate of Luhya origin.
We are doing this on behalf of the silent majority of Luhya community. Our leaders have failed us. They have failed to unite us,” movement chairman Richard Ekhalie said.