Jubilee Party, ODM to face off in Kibra by-election contest

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 00:00 |
Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Jubilee Party and opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will face off in the upcoming Kibra by-election after the ruling party announced it will field a candidate.

Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju said in a statement that following consultations, the party leadership had resolved to field a candidate in the mini-poll, which was occasioned by the death of former MP Ken Okoth.

“Following consultations within the party leadership with respect to Kibra constituency, we would like to communicate to our membership that the party will be fielding a candidate in the forthcoming political contest,” said the statement that also asked interested party members to forward their applications to the National Elections Board.

The decision will test the March 9, 2018 Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga because it will be the first time the two parties will lock horns in a political contest since the truce.

Enrich contest

Asked if the move to field a candidate in Kibra—an ODM bedrock in the city that was represented by Raila for more than two decades—will affect the working relationship between the two parties, Tuju said “the Handshake between our two leaders is such a big thing to be affected in any way by a by-election”.

“We have consulted widely over the matter and resolved that the Handshake will not be affected in any way. There is no ill-will or bad intentions in our decision to field a candidate in Kibra,” said Tuju on phone. 

Reacting to the decision to field a candidate in Kibra, ODM director of political affairs Opiyo  Wandayi said it was Jubilee’s democratic right to field a candidate in the by-election. “It will in fact enrich the contest,” he said. 

He said ODM as a political movement always goes to any political contest ready and prepared to face any opponent from any political party.

Reduce tension

“Let it be known that ODM is winning this seat hands down irrespective of how many candidates will be contesting in the by-election,” said Wandayi. 

The ruling party did not field candidates for by-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi South constituencies held on April 5, a move Tuju said was in the best interest of the country’s unity. The Embakasi South seat was declared vacant by the Supreme Court after it nullified Wiper Party’s Julius Mawathe’s win, while in Ugenya, the election of Chris Karan was nullified following a successful petition by David Ochieng’.

Tuju said then that Jubilee was acting in the best interest of various initiatives that will reduce political tension in the country after a divisive electoral period in 2017-18.

“We urge all involved in the forthcoming political contests to exhibit maturity and decorum and ensure maintenance of peace,” he said.

But yesterday, Tuju said that analysis and consultations by the party had confirmed that Jubilee was competitive to take part in the forthcoming by- election.

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

And last evening, Tuju released five names of individuals, among them Kenyan football star McDonald Mariga, who had expressed interest in the seat.

The five will now fight it out in the Jubilee nomination exercise that will be conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The other four are Morris Peter Kinyanjui, Mukinyingi Walter Trenk, Said Ibrahim and Doreen Nangame Khayanga Wasike. The names are contained in a letter by Tuju to IEBC.

More on National