Sharlet Mariam, a 29-year-old woman from Ukunda in Kwale County, is a little known female activist based in Msambweni where she runs a charity organisation.
Sharlet who previously worked as Head of Protocol at Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s office has now declared her bid for the Msambweni parliamentary seat which fell vacant after the death of area MP Suleiman Dori of ODM on March 9.
The youthful activist will, however, face an uphill task in her quest to represent the people of Msambweni Constituency considering the number of political heavyweights who have already declared support for preferred candidates.
Sharlet, who enjoys the support of Sonko, is planning to vie for the seat in a yet-to-be-revealed party after Jubilee opted to not field a candidate.
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ODM nominated Senator Agnes Zani is said to be fronting her brother Nicholas Zani, a move which has angered locals since Dr Zani has been nominated to parliament by ODM twice.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has also joined the Msambweni Constituency wars after he declared support for his Finance CEC Bakari Sebe who is also eyeing the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket — although he has been criticized for starting early campaigns for the seat despite having not resigned as Kwale County Finance boss.
Sebe’s critics allege that he’s using public resources in the early campaigns. Mvurya has reportedly approached Deputy President William Ruto to endorse Sebe to carry the Jubilee party ticket during the by-election.
Another aspirant is former Gombato MCA Omar Boga who served in the Kwale Assembly for ten years. Boga has been defeated twice by the late Dori in his attempts to be Msambweni MP. Boga is reportedly enjoying the support of former Kwale Woman Representative Zainab Chidzuga.
Others who have also declared interest in the seat include Coast Development Authority Director Mshenga Ruga, Charles Bilali, a member of the Estates Agents Registration Board, former Kinondo MCA Juma Moane, and Msambweni KNUT Secretary Bashiri Kilalo.
Gombato, Bongwe and Ukunda Wards have the highest number of voters in Msambweni standing at 17,589 and 21,577 respectively, followed by Kinondo (11,050) and Ramisi Ward (9,760) voters. The indigenous voters are about 20 per cent of the total voters; meaning that the majority of voters are not originally from the coast region.
Mariam previously worked at the National Construction Authority as Corporate Communication Officer.
IEBC has already postponed plans for a by-election in Msambweni due to the coronavirus pandemic.