Soccer star McDonald Mariga to fly Jubilee Party flag in Kibra by-election
Former international soccer star McDonald Mariga yesterday denied being a political stooge of Deputy President William Ruto as he officially joined the race for Kibra parliamentary seat.
Mariga spoke early in the day before he was confirmed the Jubilee flag bearer in the evening incoming Kibra by-election.
Making the announcement, Jubilee National Elections Board chairman Andrew Musangi said Mariga had beaten a crowded field of Walter Trenk Ibrahim, Doreen Wasike, Oscar Kambona, Morris Kinyanjui, Bukachi Chapia, Jane Githaiga, Jack Owino, Elli Rajab, Daniel Orogo, Ramadhan Hussein, Frank Amollo, Timothy Kaimenyi, Geoffrey Mwangi and Daniel Aden to emerge the winner.
The board had interviewed all the aspirants before settling on Mariga.
The ex-Inter Millan and Pama midfielder insisted he decided to run on his own accord contrary to reports that he was being fronted by the DP.
“There is no influence from anyone. This is a decision I made after consulting my family and we agreed that I should go for it. I’m not being used by anyone,” he said.
Earlier, Mariga arrived in a white Cadillac Escalade estimated to cost more than Sh20 million when he presented his papers at the Jubilee headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi.
Give back to the community
He said Kibra has a special place in his heart, having once lived in Karanja area. “I am running because I want to give back to the community. I know the challenges facing the people of Kibra,” he said.
Mariga’s candidacy had started to cause turmoil in Jubilee with some factions accusing him of being given an unfair advantage over other aspirants seeking the ruling party’s ticket. Late last month, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) rejected a document the party had submitted with Mariga being among the listed aspirants.
But according to sources, last-minute intervention by Ruto saved the day for the footballer.
The DP was informed about the confusion and took up the matter, directing the National Elections Board to forward the names to beat the deadline.
His name was finally included in the final list that the party submitted to the IEBC, clearing the way for him to seek the Jubilee nomination.
It comes amid infighting between factions allied to either President Uhuru Kenyatta or his deputy, with those for the President keen to block Mariga from clinching the ticket.