With the by-election for Kibra Constituency slotted for November 7 fast approaching, political parties are busy flexing their muscles in preparation for the contest.
Many pundits opine that this election has provided an opportune moment for the parties to measure their strengths, especially in reference to the Raila Odinga-led ODM versus Jubilee Party, with Deputy President William Ruto in the picture.
Jubilee’s candidate Mcdonald Mariga is bound to face off with ODM’s candidate in a political duel that will see both parties compete in the handshake era, with ANC’s Eliud Owalo trying a second stab at the seat.
Sadly, the interests of the people of Kibra may be relegated to the last position in the order of priority as several factors come to the fore.
First, this election is bound be a proxy war, especially between the ODM chief Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto. Already there are claims that pro-Ruto side in the Jubilee party is fronting Mariga, who just registered as a voter in Kibra just two weeks ago.
Questions that keep lingering in my mind are; does he have the interest of people of Kibra at heart? Does he understand the dynamics of Kibra Constituency?
Does he have an interest in the seat, or it is a matter of being fronted because an opportunity has come?
He is a successful football career but how have the people of Kibra gained from his endeavours, if any?
Similar questions will apply to other candidates, including ODM’s who are about to have their party nominations on Saturday.
Secondly, the election seems to take the direction of big names competition. We’ve heard of the likes of Mariga, Eliud Owalo, the reggae DJ popularly known as Kriss Darlin among others. Such big names are being associated with Kibra because of an election.
We haven’t heard about them doing community service to the people of Kibra before. Even with their massive influence and affluence, they had to wait for an election to come to the fore to tell people what they would do for them.
While kneeling before Raila, Kriss Darlin even asked for permission to go and deal with young MPs who keep insulting Raila. This is already an indication that he is swearing his loyalty to Raila and not the people of Kibra.
Third in the line of priorities are party interests. ODM would want to keep the seat as the immediate former MP was a member of the party. It is also public knowledge that Kibra Constituency has been an ODM zone over the years.
The people of Kibra have been die-hard supporters of the party to the extent of taking the bullets in demonstrations just for the party. Raila Odinga’s word to the people of Kibra has been regarded as sacred and almost a law.
People of Kibra have taken Raila Odinga as an institution and almost as the fourth arm of Government. Who on earth would want such a high regard to be changed? Who would want to lose the loyalty of such a group?
This is why ODM will fight hard to retain the seat, having suffered an embarrassing loss in the recent Ugenya by-election.
A section of Jubilee, on the other hand, wants to exploit this chance to send a message to their presumed arch-rivals in the context of the 2022 election.
A win for the Ruto-led Jubilee faction will give the DP a plus since the perception will be that he has snatched a seat from Raila’s doorstep. There is a common saying in my native language that a person who beats you in your home is your master.
The last concern for the candidates will be the interests of the people of Kibra. Many promises will be made and little will be done.
The candidates will take advantage of the vulnerability and dire needs of the constituents to woo them. Thus, Kibra people, must wake up, open their eyes, think critically about the kind of a leader they want, one who envisions the ambitions of the immediate former MP, one who would attend to them even at the point of death.
Kibra, the ball is in your court.
The writer is a Research Assistant, Parliament.[email protected]