Kibra holds breath a few hours to ballot counting

Kibra by-election candidates McDonald Mariga (Jubilee) and Imran Okoth (ODM).

As the curtains draw to a close before polling centres start counting, Kibra candidates are holding their breath.

The gates will close at 5pm, but ballot counting will start later.

The battle for the constituency has been described as a war between bigwigs Raila Odinga and William Ruto.

It is difficult not to draw conclusions from the Kibra battle, with regard to the 2022 vote.

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The former Prime Minister has Imran Okoth, and the Deputy President is banking on McDonald Mariga.

Either candidate's victory will be a show of might and popularity ahead of the General Election that is barely three years away.

But talk of the 2022 election has been rife, with some saying politicians put too much emphasis on election, by-elections and campaigns, with little to show for the time they are in power.

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The run-up to the by-election was not without drama and back and forth.

First, Mariga filed a petition at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s Disputes Resolution Committee against the invalidation of his candidature for the Kibra by-election.

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Mariga did not vote, seeing as he is not a registered voter in Kibra.

The man who was hardly viewed by the majority as a politician, was a hard sell. To many he was a footballer.

Imran's biggest battle came as many suspected he would not get the ODM nomination, following claims that he influenced the cremation of his brother and former MP Ken Okoth who died on July 26 after battling cancer.

The seat attracted 24 candidates.

Previous ODM strongholds have been characterised with violence, either during party nominations or voting.

There was heavy security presence at Kibra during the mini-poll.

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However, the tune was different today. But security was not left to chance as there was heavy police presence amid reports of voter bribery.

Other than low voter turnout, slated at 34 per cent, businesses and transport were not disrupted.

Kibra constituency has five wards – Makina, Laini Saba, Sarang’ombe, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course and Lindi, with 118,658 votes.

The by-election fell on a working day, which may have influenced the low voter turnout.

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McDonald MarigaImran Okoth