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Parties to bet on ethnic numbers in Kibra poll

By Moses Nyamori | October 29th 2019
ANC party candidate for Kibra by-election Eliud Owalo speaks at the Lindi grounds in Kibra yesterday. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Political parties contesting in the Kibra by-election have tasked their MPs with mobilising ethnic blocs as the scramble for votes intensifies.

MPs from Jubilee Party and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have lined up a series of meetings with Luhya, Luo and Kikuyu communities this week ahead of their last major rallies on Sunday.

Jubilee has fielded ex-footballer MacDonald Mariga, while ODM is rooting for Imran Okoth.

Deputy President William Ruto will host the final Jubilee rally, while Opposition leader Raila Odinga will host ODM's.

The mini poll will be held on November 7.

Amani National Congress (ANC) has also planned its own rally on Sunday. The party has fielded Eliud Owalo in the Kibra race.

The campaigns have since shifted focus from the candidates in the race, to the country's political bigwigs -Dr Ruto and Raila -  who are focusing on the 2022 election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has set Monday, November 4, as the last day for  campaigns.

ODM Chairman John Mbadi said in an interview that the party has clustered its MPs into groups; the groups have been instructed to reach specific communities and rally them behind Imran.

Raila meet

Mr Mbadi said Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda has been tasked with rallying members of the Kikuyu community behind the ODM candidate.

“We have been doing door-to-door campaigns. Luo MPs have been meeting Luo voters. Luhya and Kisii MPs have been meeting their people too,” Mbadi said

An official in the ODM campaign team also confided to The Standard that Raila has planned to meet with Luhya and Kikuyu communities in the course of the week.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who is a close ally of Ruto, yesterday explained that Jubilee MPs too have been divided into groups that will rally specific communities to support Mariga.

Mr Barasa said he will be in charge of Lindi Ward. He noted that the ward has a good number of Luhyas.

Charles Njagua (Starehe), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and John Kiarie (Dagoretti South) have all been assigned to take charge of campaigns in Woodley; populated by Kikuyus.

MPs Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East) and MP Vincent Musyoka (Mwala) will reach to Kamba voters in in Laini Saba Ward, while former senator Boni Khalwale and MP Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) are spearheading campaigns in Makina Ward.

Langata MP Nixon Kori will be in charge of Sarangómbe Ward.

Barasa added that the party has also planned to meet the Luhya community at Bhukhungu grounds.

"On Thursday we will hold a major meeting with Luhya people. There will be a huge declaration at Bhukhungu grounds," Barasa said.

Mr Owalo said his campaigns will not target communities. Instead, he will talk to voters about his manifesto.

“My tribe is my agenda. I will not campaign on a tribal platform. I will talk to the people about my agenda,” Owalo said.

Parade leaders

Last Sunday, Raila signaled the battle for ethnic blocs when he paraded Luhya leaders who are supporting Imran.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala (ANC) joined nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi in ditching Owalo for Imran.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, former Cabinet Minister Fred Gumo, MPs Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), George Aladwa (Makadara), Gertrude Musurive (nominated senator) and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna have rallied voters to back Imran.

Ruto has also been hosting delegations at his Nairobi residence.

The deputy president has met delegations from the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii and Luhyia communities.

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