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Blow to Mudavadi as allies back ANC rival in Kibra clash

By Moses Nyamori and Josphat Thiong’o | September 30th 2019

ANC candidate for Kibra by-election Eliud Owalo addresses a rally at Bukhungu grounds in the constituency. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Kibra by-election battle took a new twist after an Amani National Congress (ANC) lawmaker announced that at least three MPs under the Musalia Mudavadi-led party were supporting ODM candidate Imran Okoth.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi yesterday declared his support for Mr Okoth in the November 7 mini-poll. He joined ODM legislators on the campaign trail yesterday.

He claimed Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and his Kakamega counterpart Cleophas Malala were some of the ANC legislators who would soon join Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s party in the Kibra campaigns. The Standard could not immediately confirm the claims with the two senators, as their calls went unanswered.

ANC is fronting Eliud Owalo to succeed the late MP Ken Okoth.

Mr Osotsi was accompanied by ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, MPs Timothy Wanyonyi (Westlands) and George Aladwa (Makadara) for campaigns in Laini Saba and Lindi.

Osotsi later told The Standard it was more strategic for the Luhya community to support ODM, stating that a majority of them were members of various Parliamentary Committees courtesy of the Orange party.

In a veiled attack against his party leader, Osotsi claimed those fielding candidates in the by-election were not interested in winning.

He further accused them of trying to use the by-election to frustrate the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

“It is not about the seat but people keen on settling political scores with Raila as well as to try to frustrate the handshake,” said Osotsi.

At the same time, Jubilee MPs backing footballer McDonald Mariga’s candidature yesterday fought off claims that Uhuru was forced to endorse the ruling coalition’s candidate.

MPs John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), Millicent Omanga (nominated), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North) said Mariga had Uhuru’s blessings for the seat.

They were responding to claims by Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh that Uhuru was pressurised to endorse Mr Mariga.

She claimed she was at State House when Uhuru was pushed to endorse Mariga. Shebesh made the remarks while drumming up support for Okoth.

Shebesh, nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi are some of the Jubilee members who have declared support for the ODM candidate.

The Kiarie-led campaign team yesterday also took a swipe at their opponents for framing the contest as a battle between Raila and Ruto.

Kiarie said voters in Kibra would be choosing their MP to serve them, which had nothing to do with the top leaders.

Mariga said he would increase the bursary kitty to benefit more students.

Yesterday, Mr Owalo was forced to refute claims that he was planning to drop out of the race in favour of Mariga.

Speaking during a rally in Kibra, Owalo also pledged to double the amount doled out to Kibra residents in bursaries.

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