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Jubilee Kibra nominee McDonald Mariga (left) is congratulated by his party Election Board members Andrew Busangi (second left), Carolyne Daudi and Samuel Nyangeso. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Mariga on Monday denied claims that his decision to vie for the seat was influenced by Dr Ruto.

A section of Jubilee MPs has opposed the nomination of former footballer McDonald Mariga as their party’s candidate in the Kibra by-election.

The MPs have vowed to campaign for the ODM candidate to protest Mariga’s nomination.

MPs Maina Kamanda (nominated) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) yesterday said they would back Opposition Chief Raila Odinga’s ODM candidate in the poll set for November 7.

Mr Kamanda said he would not allow Deputy President William Ruto to ruin the peace brought by the handshake between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta with his “selfish political interests”.

Mariga on Monday denied claims that his decision to vie for the seat was influenced by Dr Ruto.

He said he had sought the advice of people close to him before deciding to throw his hat in the Kibra by-election ring.

Kamanda yesterday dismissed the former footballer’s assertions, saying Ruto was using him as a pawn in his quest to face off with Raila in Kibra.

“The candidate Jubilee Party picked has been imposed on the party by Ruto. He is Ruto’s candidate and not Jubilee’s. I am for a candidate who will be announced by ODM,” said Kamanda.

Not suited

He questioned Ruto’s keenness on having a candidate in Kibra, even after Jubilee decided not to field any in Ugenya, Migori and Embakasi South for the sake of the handshake.

Mr Kuria said Mariga was not suited to represent Kibra. He vowed to throw his weight behind Benson Musungu should ODM settle on him.

Kuria said Mr Musungu had lived in the sprawling informal settlement and understood it, adding that the handshake had freed them to support any candidate irrespective of the party.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja was also cagey on who intended to back in the Kibra by-election.

He said he had hoped Jubilee would back an ODM candidate to continue the late Ken Okoth’s legacy in Kibra.

“I had asked my party to back a candidate from ODM, but that request was declined. What I can say is that Kibra needs a good leader who can continue what Ken started,” said Mr Sakaja.

Ruto’s ally and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the aggrieved Jubilee MPs were ODM sympathisers. He promised them bruising campaigns.

Mr Barasa said Ruto’s camp would pitch tent in Kibra to campaign for the footballer. When Mariga was picked on Monday by Jubilee’s National Elections Board (NEB), the board’s chairman Andrew Musangi said due process was followed.

Mariga allegedly beat 16 other aspirants to secure the ticket.

Morris Kinyanjui, one of the aspirants who lost to Mariga, yesterday wrote a protest letter to Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju, claiming the process was flawed.

He said the nomination process was not only unfair and deceptive but also shrouded in secrecy. “To make matters worse, Mariga is not a resident or a voter in Kibra Constituency,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny questioned the criteria used to pick Mariga, saying they had received reports that he might not be a registered voter in Kibra. Mr Kutuny said the nomination process was not competitive.

Opposition Chief Raila Odinga McDonald Mariga

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