Jubilee MPs to back Raila man in Kibra

Orange party leader Raila Odinga (centre) looks on as Jubilee Nominated MP Maina Kamanda endorses Imran Okoth for the Kibra by-election yesterday. [David Gichuru, Standard]
Orange party leader Raila Odinga has welcomed the endorsement of Imran Okoth — ODM's candidate in the Kibra by-election — by Nominated MP Maina Kamanda (Jubilee).

Mr Odinga said Kamanda's backing signalled ODM was courting broad support that will see it vanquish rivals in the November 7 contest. 

The Opposition leader was speaking after Kamanda joined him at a meeting to endorse the candidature of Okoth – a day after the Jubilee candidate, McDonald Mariga, was endorsed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Kamanda said many more MPs from his party were willing to support Imran in the spirit of Uhuru and Raila's handshake, suggesting the divisions in the ruling party over the by-election were far from over.

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Although he reiterated that he was supporting the Orange party candidate out of his own volition, he claimed more MPs were quietly backing Imran, who is a brother of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth. 

“You will see other MPs come out to support Imran because of the peace we have witnessed as a country. I am here as a person, not representing anybody,” said Kamanda.

He stressed that his support was a show of appreciation for the easing of tensions due to the truce between Uhuru and Raila.

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Appealing for peaceful campaigns, Raila assured his supporters that ODM will do everything to recapture the seat.

”We would like to see peaceful campaigns in Kibra. We do not want to see any violence. I can assure you that ODM is going to conduct itself in a peaceful manner in this campaign," Raila said.

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Secure support

Nyando MP Jared Okelo said ODM was glad to secure the support of "a leader" of a wing of Jubilee - in reference to Kamanda who has become one of the leading crusaders of Kieleweke, a faction of the ruling party critical of Deputy President William Ruto's presidential bid. The other faction, Tangatanga, is in support of the deputy president's presidential ambitions.

On Wednesday, Uhuru endorsed Mariga's candidature at State House, Nairobi, in a function attended by Ruto and some Jubilee MPs. 

The development was a boost to Mariga's bid as it demonstrated he had the backing of a united Jubilee.

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Raila OdingaKibra by-electionNominated MP Maina Kamanda