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ODM's Imran Okoth takes an early lead

NAIROBI
By Betty Njeru and Mercy Asamba | November 7th 2019
ODM candidate Bernard Imran Okoth has his finger marked after voting at Old Kibra Primary School. [Edward Kiplimo/Standard]

ODM’s Bernard Imran Okoth took an early lead as early as 9pm in 22 out of 183 polling stations.

According to The Standard reporters on the ground, Okoth was leading with 2,686 votes, Jubilee’s Mcdonald Mariga had 877 votes while ANC’s Eliud Owalo had garnered 520 votes.

Ford Kenya’s Butichi was following with 20 votes.

The by-election has been pitting bigwigs Raila Odinga of ODM and Deputy President William Ruto of Jubilee.

The two have on several occasions engaged in a war of words as they campaigned for their respective candidates in a constituency described as Raila’s “political bedroom”.

But Ruto, who was backing Mariga, a former international football player with Italy’s Seria A side Inter Milan, declared he was ready to invade the ‘bedroom’.

“A vote for him (Imran) is a vote for Baba. If you can’t vote for Imran, vote for Baba,” Raila had urged his supporters. Baba is a political nickname for Raila.

But Ruto retorted that “He (Raila) was an MP, a minister and a prime minister and he never brought any meaningful development to Kibra people.”

Imran rose to the limelight when he declared his interest to run for the Kibra parliamentary seat after his elder brother Ken Okoth who held the seat died of cancer in July.

He was Kibra’s Constituency Development Manager.

He vied for the seat on an ODM ticket, fronted by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

In what has been a highly contested by-election, a possible win for him will be a show of might and popularity ahead of the General Election in 2022.

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