ODM leader Raila Odinga with Bernard Okoth, who will fly the party’s flag in the November 7 Kibra parliamentary by-election, at Orange House. [David Gichuru, Standard]
ODM leader Raila Odinga has rallied nomination losers behind the party’s candidate for the Kibra parliamentary by-election, as the Orange camp warned rivals to prepare for a bruising battle. The party yesterday signaled part of its campaign strategy would be to push the message that their candidate, Bernard Imran Okoth, the former Kibra Constituency Development Fund (CDF) chairman, comes from the area in an attempt to portray rival candidates as outsiders.Raila stood by as Imran, who is former MP Ken Okoth’s brother, was handed the nomination certificate at Orange House. He later introduced the unsuccessful contestants to show the party was united as it heads into campaigns to recapture the seat in an area that speakers described as ODM’s stronghold.“Today is the exercise of giving the certificate to the ODM candidate who will fly the flag in the Kibra by-elections. All those candidates have met together after the results were announced and agreed to support the winner,” said Raila, as he allayed fears of a fallout following Saturday’s party nominations.
ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed, who will lead campaigns, told rival parties to prepare for a bruising battle.“The only party that did nominations in this country was ODM, while all others did selections. Jubilee brought us a footballer, ANC a businessman and I don’t know what others have brought us. We want to assure rival parties that we will have the best campaign and have prepared a well-oiled campaign machinery. Let other parties and tanga tanga know that Kibra is ODM.”He was referring to Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga, who was later rejected by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on a technicality, and former Raila aide Eliud Owalo, who is vying on Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party ticket, who are in the crowded race for the seat.
Junet said their rivals should think the party had lost its popularity due to the outcomes of past by-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi South, where ODM lost. “Don’t mistake a rained-on lion for a cat,” he said.
Ready for battle
ODM Nairobi branch chairman and Makadara MP George Aladwa said the party was buoyed by peaceful party nominations, unlike in the past when it had been haunted by chaotic primaries.
“As ODM, we are ready for this battle. Let the world know that Kibra on Saturday showed maturity in nominations. We will mobilise all tribes, youth and women behind Imran,” said Mr Aladwa.Party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said Kibra was looking for a candidate who would continue Okoth’s work.“Kibra is not looking for a slay queen or businessman who will come to do business with its residents, but a good leader who will continue the development work of the late Ken Okoth in education and health, among other sectors.”The nomination losers conceded defeat and agreed to support the winner, even as they pleaded with voters to support a candidate from Kibra.Imran emerged the winner after garnering 4,382 votes in party nominations. He beat Dagoretti High School Principal Peter Orero (1,218), John Otieno (906), Ben Musungu (524), Chris Odhiambo (417), Tony Ogola (381), Stephen Okello (228), Brian Owino (127), Reuben Ojijo (52) and Eric Obayi (45).
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