Jubilee ponders on fielding Kibra nominee as race hots up

Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael. He says the party is holding consultation to decide whether it will field a candidate or not. [File, Standard]
The Kibra by-election race could be thrown wide open after Jubilee Party indicated it was considering fielding a candidate.

Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju said yesterday the party was holding consultation and will soon make a pronouncement whether to field a candidate or not.

“We are yet to make a decision on the matter. We are still consulting before we can issue the official position of the party,” said Mr Tuju.

The remarks come in the backdrop of a meeting convened by ODM leader Raila Odinga to discuss how the outfit will pick its own candidate.

SEE ALSO :The ‘handshake’ has not lived up to its billing

Kibra has been a Raila political bedrock and it would be in his interest to retain the seat.

Jubilee had pulled out of Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections in favour of ODM, citing the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

ODM on its part pulled out of the Wajir West mini-poll in favour of Jubilee.

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But should the ruling coalition decide to field a candidate, it will provide a battle front between arch-rivals Raila and Deputy President William Ruto.

ODM is walking a tight rope in identifying its candidate for Kibra without occasioning disgruntlement among its members.

SEE ALSO :How Kibra, Gandu by-elections landed politicians in trouble

The party has in the past suffered a public backlash in other areas over bungled nominations.

Yesterday, ODM chairman John Mbadi said the party’s Central Management Committee will meet this week on Thursday before giving its National Elections Board directions on how to pick the candidate.

He further added that the party will listen to the demands of the electorate, amid reports that residents are opposed to an outsider being imposed on them.

“Our first option will be going the universal suffrage way in picking the candidate, though we may also consider consensus or direct nomination,” said MR Mbadi.

At least six people have declared their interest in the Kibra seat.

SEE ALSO :Raila, Ruto face-off in major last minute separate rallies in Kibra

ODM’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna neither confirmed nor denied whether he will contest.

Mr Sifuna said that the party is yet to invite applications from interested candidates and he will confirm his interest  at a later date.

ODM Organising Secretary Kibra Constituency Sigar Agumba, National Youth coordinator Benson Musungu, former MCA Pius  K’Otieno and Steve Oguma are some of the individuals who have declared interest to run on a ODM ticket.

Mr Agumba unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2013 before he was elected as a party branch official.

Mr Musungu said that he does not wish to be given a direct nomination, but would prefer a contest where the best candidate wins.

SEE ALSO :Kanu to support ODM candidate in Kibra poll

“I have expressed my interest to vie for the vacant seat but I do not wish to be given a direct ticket,” said Musungu.

Human rights activist Editar Vitalis confirmed that she will be battling with others to succeed Okoth on Ukweli Party.

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Kibra by-electionJubilee PartyKibra