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Four aspirants declare interest in Kibra seat

Minority Leader John Mbadi addressing the media at Parliament on the fake gold scandal [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The race to succeed the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth has gained momentum with ODM facing a headache in picking a candidate.

Yesterday, ODM chairman John Mbadi (pictured) said the party leader Raila Odinga has convened a meeting next week to discuss how ODM will pick its candidate.

At least four aspirants have declared interest in the seat, with three seeking the ODM ticket.

Among those who have showed interest to run on an ODM ticket are former MCA Pius K’Otieno, ODM National Youth Coordinator Benson Musungu and Imran Okoth, Ken's brother.

Human rights activist Editar Vitalis confirmed that she will be battling for the seat on Ukweli Party (UP).

Mr Mbadi, who is also the Suba South MP, said the meeting to be chaired by Mr Odinga would decide the method of picking the party’s candidate.

He hinted that ODM could go for secret ballot, consensus or direct nominations.

Mbadi spoke even as reports emerged that Kibra residents are opposed to an outsider being imposed on them.

In an interview, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna neither confirmed nor denied whether he will contest for the seat.

“ODM has not received any application from any candidate to vie on its ticket. I cannot say whether I will run or not,” said Mr Sifuna.

A former campaign manager for Raila, Eliud Owalo, who has since quit ODM, did not confirm or deny his interest in the seat.

Rooting for a fair nomination process, Mr K’Otieno said such a process should be acceptable to all the candidates.

“I will vie but it will be wise to carry out a free, fair and credible nomination exercise. I am aware that the ODM constitution allows for different forms of picking a candidate, but it will be wise to conduct fair nominations,” said K’Otieno.

Mr Musungu said he does not wish to be given direct nomination, and called for a fair contest among the contenders.

“I have expressed my interest to vie for the seat but I do not wish to be given a direct ticket. We should go for a free, fair and credible nomination process,” said Musungu.

The late Okoth’s family has endorsed Imran, saying he is the right person for the job since he stood with his brother as he sought cancer treatment in France.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi issued writs declaring the Kibra parliamentary seat vacant on Wednesday.

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