Raila rallies ODM lawmakers to strategise on Kibra election

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
ODM candidate in the Kibra by-election Imran Okoth (right) interacts with party leaders when he attended a parliamentary group meeting chaired by Raila Odinga, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday marshalled legislators from the party to strategise campaigns for the November 7 Kibra by-election.

Raila, according to MPs present, has taken over the organisation and planning of campaigns for the seat, which is seen as his political bedrock.

During recent by-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi South, Raila kept off the campaigns and his absence was attributed to the party’s poor show when it lost both seats.

Raila’s move to head the campaign operations seems necessary, given that his opponents, particularly Jubilee Party,  have camped in the constituency to campaign for their respective candidates.

Deputy President William Ruto, who has fronted former international footballer McDonald Mariga, has vowed that Jubilee will win the Kibra seat.

“The Jubilee Party will win the Kibra parliamentary seat in the November by-election,” Ruto said over the weekend.

Contribute to kitty

The by-election is largely seen as a contest between Ruto and Raila with pundits saying whoever emerges the winner will hold the bragging rights ahead of the 2022 elections.

But yesterday, Raila chaired a party Parliamentary Group meeting at County Hall whose sole agenda was to plan for the Kibra contest.

During the meeting, it was resolved that each MP contributes Sh50,000 towards the campaign kitty. 

Further, the lawmakers will organise themselves in groups and hold door-to-door campaigns for  the party’s candidate Imran Okoth.

“The party leader is taking the Kibra by-election very seriously, he wants us all to play a part,” said a Member, who sought anonymity.

After the meeting, Raila met Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, his fierce critic, and they held a brief meeting. 

A photo of the two together immediately went viral on social media amid claims that she had  defected from ODM to join Ruto’s Jubilee Party. There were also claims that she attended the Raila-chaired meeting and vowed to campaign for Okoth.

Wallow in poverty

Jumwa, however, said she did not attend the meeting but waited in her Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) office where she held talks with Raila.

She also refuted claims that he had decamped to Jubilee.

Over the weekend Ruto in a veiled attack on Raila, said Kibra was wallowing in abject poverty and that it needed a pragmatic leader to turn its fortunes around.

Yesterday, Raila rallied the MPs to set aside any other business and campaign for the party candidate.

“We need to put the interests of the party ahead, we need to show our opponents that we are a strong and organised party,” Raila reportedly told the MPs.

Apart from Mariga and Okoth, other candidates in the Kibra race include Eliud Owallo (ANC) and Khamisi Butichi (Ford-K)

The by-election has proven to be a test for Nasa affiliate parties after some of the parties fielded candidates, with Wiper party resolving to back the Ford Kenya candidate.

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