Msambweni by-election: Ruto’s candidate withdraws, backs another aspirant

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 13:31 |
Deputy President William Ruto. Photo/DPPS

Independent candidate Sharlet Akinyi has withdrawn from the Msambweni parliamentary race in favour of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party aspirant Omar Boga.

Her defection comes barely two months after she quit ODM in a huff and made a high profile appearance at the Jubilee Party headquarters in the company of Deputy President William Ruto.

Announcing her latest move yesterday, Akinyi said she would now back Boga during the by-election. Speaking in Diani during a meeting with Boga’s campaigners, Akinyi said she has withdrawn because despite her hopping, she remained an ardent ODM member and would back its candidate during the byelections.

She suggested that her decision was as a result as a previous appeal by Opposition leader Raila Odinga that they all back Boga.

Party hopping

“I have been a member of ODM party. Despite the party hopping, I have changed my mind and chosen to support the ODM candidate just like the party leader Raila had advised me to,” she said.

Akinyi said Raila had hosted all the party’s aspirants for the seat in September just before the ODM nominations and urged them to withdraw in support of Boga.

“The late Suleiman Dori was an ODM member, and therefore the seat should also be succeeded by an the party member,” Akinyi quoted Raila.

With Akinyi’s withdrawal, the battle for the seat is now between Boga and Feisal Bader, with the other six contenders being dismissed as nonstarters by various observers.

Nominated MCAs Hanifa Mwajirani and Najma Mwandoto received Akinyi and her team in the ODM camp as Boga is still in isolation battling Covid-19.

Sharlet Akinyi has withdrawn from the Msambweni parliamentary race. Photo/PD/File

“We welcome Akinyi and her team to ODM camp and from today we will work together in campaigning for Omar Boga until he gets the seat come December 15,” Mwajirani said. Mwandoto also added that Akinyi and her group had earlier called ODM candidate Boga for a meeting to withdraw her candidature in his favour.

“When two weeks ago Akinyi called Boga for a meeting asking to withdraw in his favour, Boga never declined the favour, he welcomed it and since he has been ill with Corona virus disease he asked his campaign committee together with us the MCAs to meet and talk to them,” she said.

She said they had a successful meeting with Akinyi and her group and decided to make the official announcement.

“We met two weeks ago but today was her official announcement to the public that Akinyi and her supporters have joined team Boga and we will work together, united for Boga’s win,” Mwandoto said.

Before her sudden change of heart, Deputy President William Ruto had presented Akinyi as the would-be candidate for Jubilee, only to find out that the party had declared it would not involve itself in the Msambweni by-election.

Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju said: “ The party will not have a candidate for the Msambweni parliamentary by-election. We will instead support ODM candidate because of Hand shake,” Tuju said in a statement shortly before Ruto emerged at the party headquarters with Akinyi.

A day later, Ruto was to receive another aspirant for the Msambweni parliamentary seat, Feisal Dori, indicating that he would back him. Ruto’s decision to publicly back Dori forced Akinyi to announce that she would contests as an Independent candidate.

The Msambweni Constituency by-election is slated for December 15. Seat fell vacant following the death of Suleiman Dori in March. He succumbed to cancer.

Ruto has been hosting Feisal Dori, an aspirant for the parliamentary seat of this constituency. Reports also indicate that Feisak turned up at Ruto’s home accompanied by Members of Parliament from Coast region. No details of their meeting have been revealed yet.

Dori was escorted by Nyali’s Mohammed Ali, Kilifi North’s Owen Mbaya, Lungalunga’s Khatib Mwashetani, Lamu East’s Athman Shariff and Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa.

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