Kibra hopefuls make final pitch ahead of by-election

ODM candidate for Kibra by-election, Imran Okoth (right) and Jubilee’s MacDonald Mariga. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]
Parties have lined up a series of rallies less than two weeks before a high-stake Kibra by-election.

With 19 candidates, the by-election appears to be a three-horse race between Jubilee, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Amani National Congress (ANC) parties.

A defeat for ODM candidate Bernard Okoth, late MP Ken Okoth’s brother, would mean that the party has lost its stranglehold over a constituency it has controlled for decades.

Jubilee hopes its candidate, McDonald Mariga will be the one to upset the apple cart.

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Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula, on the other hand, are banking on their candidates Eliud Owalo (ANC) and Khamisi Butichi (Ford Kenya) to pull a surprise win against their coalition partner, Raila Odinga.

The by-elections have brought out the best and the ugly side of politics with claims of voter bribery, buying of identity cards  and tampering of the voters register emerging in a highly ethnicised poll.

Door-to-door

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It has also also showed the verve that candidates from smaller parties have. While the leading candidates have the advantage of parties with financial muscle to back their campaigns, candidates considered to be from fringe parties or independents have outdone themselves to court the voters.

From debates at Joseph Kangethe Social Hall, door-to-door campaigns and public forums, the race for Kibra’s 118,658 registered voters has been intense.

Today, ODM have planned a rally at Laini Saba. Party leader Raila Odinga is expected to attend.

ANC’s Owalo is also expected at Kamukunji grounds.

On Friday, Jubilee candidate Mariga launched his manifesto outlining his plans to transform trade, infrastructure and sport in the constituency.

Mariga said he would set up open-air tailoring centre in the constituency and champion legislation in parliament to make Kibra recognised as a marginalised constituency to benefit from the equalisation funds.

Further, Mariga promised to help parents bear the cost of the new school curriculum. He also promised to set up a one-stop centre for Kibra residents to get free business lessons and access the internet to encourage e-commerce.

Last week, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that several polling centres that would be relocated after the by-election coincided with national examinations.

Olympic Secondary School polling station has been relocated to Ayany Primary School while voters at Mbagathi Road Primary will cast their ballots at Kenyatta Market Parking lot.

Shadrack Kimalel Primary polling centre has been moved to to Golf Course playing ground, Upper Hill High School to Kilimanjaro Avenue, while voters at Raila Education Centre will vote at Old Kibera Primary.

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Kibra by-electionBernard OkothKen OkothMcDonald Mariga