By Standard On Sunday Team
Presidential aspirants are holding nothing back as they battle to enforce voter loyalty to their parties in three parliamentary by-elections on Monday.
Making their pitches on behalf of party candidates on the last day of official campaigns, some leaders insisted they would not accept an upset in their political backyards. Voters in Ndhiwa, Kangema, and Kajiado North constituencies go to polls to elect their Members of Parliament who will serve until January 15, when the term of the Tenth Parliament expires.
On Sunday the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will deploy polling clerks, presiding officers, and deputy presiding officers in the three constituencies and ten civic wards also holding by-elections. These are the first polls to be conducted by the IEBC, before it supervises the first General Election under the new Constitution on March 4.
Early on Saturday before the close of the official campaign period, Prime Minister Raila Odinga campaigned for Neto Oyugi, ODM’s candidate in Ndhiwa. Raila said he would not seek the presidency if the ODM candidate lost in the Ndhiwa by-election and asked voters to spare him the embarrassment.
“Ka ok umiya Neto kaka jaod bura maru to kata an ok abichung ekom maduong cha (If you do not give me Neto as your MP, then I will not vie for the top seat),” he said at rally at Magina Trading Centre, on Saturday.
Some ODM aspirants, who lost to Neto, rebelled and backed candidates from rival parties to protest alleged irregularities in party nominations.
Kanu’s Tom Otieno Alila was the main beneficiary of the dissent, but TNA’s Rosemary Rumo could also make a good showing after a successful campaign involving top leaders of her party.
In Kajiado North, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta rooted for TNA’s Moses ole Sakuda, while Planning Assistant minister Peter Kenneth campaigned for Peter Munene of the Kenya National Congress. In the morning Uhuru had toured Kangema to rally voters to elect TNA’s Tiras Ngahu.
“You should vote for the TNA candidate in Monday by-election. The by-election is the base to boost TNA standing in national politics,” said Uhuru.
Kenneth said KNC is stable unlike other parties that are rocked with divisions.
“It is unwise to vote in leaders who are not development conscious. If you elect our candidate I will ensure I teach him how work in constituency is done efficiently,” said the Gatanga MP. Gatanga has been ranked as the best in the management of Constituency Development Fund.