The late Ken Okoth’s brother clinched the ODM ticket for the Kibra by-election setting up a clash with Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga and Eliud Owalo of ANC.
Bernard Otieno Okoth (Imran) won ODM primaries on Saturday, clearing a key hurdle in his quest to succeed his brother in the by-election scheduled for November 7.
Ford Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi is also vying for the seat left vacant after Okoth died of cancer.
For the first time, ODM concluded nominations peacefully without any violence being reported.
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Mr Imran clinched the nomination having garnered 4,382 votes, beating his closest challenger Dagoretti High School Principal Peter Orero who got 1,218. John Otieno was third with 906 votes.
Ben Musungu was fourth with 524 votes, Chris Odhiambo had 417, Tony Ogola 381, Stephen Okello 228, Brian Owino 127, Reuben Ojijo 52 and Eric Obayi 45 votes.
Unlike in the past where chaos characterised such incidents, ODM seems to have picked its lessons and Saturday’s exercise may pass as a testimony of the change of tack.
Party leader Raila Odinga and the ODM headquarters have often been bashed for having preferred candidates and denying voters an chance to make their choice.
Indeed, just three days to the primaries, Raila convened a meeting where he assured all aspirants that he had no preferred candidate and will not interfere.
“We are hearing rumours that I have already chosen someone. Those are all gossips that should be discarded. You are all my sons and I do not love one more than the other hence we dismiss the gossips,” he told them.
Following a dismal performance in 2017, Raila appointed a task force chaired by lawyer Catherine Muma that linked the chaos to the system used, terming it archaic as it’s prone to violence, voter bribery and also expensive to conduct.
It’s the task force that recommended the adoption of a free and fair exercise as a panacea of ensuring the party’s popularity does not dwindle and the Kibra by-election was the first litmus test.
“For the first time, party primaries have been conducted in a free, fair and credible manner. We put the machinery to forestall any attempt to infiltrate the exercise, used party membership list and availed adequate material,” Nairobi ODM branch chairman George Aladwa said.
Mr Aladwa, who is also the Makadara MP, said Raila steered clear of the exercise as a proof that he did not have any preferred candidate as it has often been claimed and that the party will apply the same methods in 2022 polls.
Consequently, an impressed ODM leader will this morning meet Imran and his rivals as he seeks to forge a common unity.
“As a party, we want to thank the National Elections Board led by Senator Judith Pareno, party secretariat led by Edwin Sifuna, police officers led by Nairobi Police Commander Philip Ndolo and our members in Kibra for ensuring the exercise was successful and devoid of incidents,” Aladwa added.
The exercise did not go unnoticed even by ODM rivals. “Congrats to party leader Raila Odinga for presiding over the most democratic nomination ever,” EALA MP Simon Mbugua of Jubilee said.
ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna congratulated the winner.
Yesterday, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi accompanied Owalo for a church service at Quakers Friends Church in Makina, Kibra.
Mudavadi asked residents to vote for Owalo who will help keep the Government on toes in Parliament.