Kibra, one of the seventeen constituencies in Nairobi County, is about to hold a by-election. It is the by-election that is allegedly going to change the political scene in the country. Funny, isn’t it? All these political parties are giving all they got in this race. It’s just one constituency. But what makes this by-election so important? Let’s find out. These are the top 5 things you need to know about the Kibra By-Elections.
5. Ken Okoth’s Death
The Kibra By-Election came about after the untimely death of the former Member of Parliament, Ken Okoth succumbed to cancer. The Late Honorable Member was fighting colorectal cancer but lost the battle on 26th July 2019.
This meant a by-election had to be planned for November 7th so as to fill the vacant seat in Kibra County. The electoral constituency includes Kibera slums, one of the key areas for politicians to assert their dominance.
4. Number of registered voters in Kibra Constituency
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that there are 118,658 registered voters in Kibra constituency in a Gazette notice. In the constituency’s five wards, Laini Saba has 17,455 voters, Lindi 16,688, Makina 25,695, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course 28066, and Sarangomber 30,754.
Just keep this number in mind in case you see absurd voter turnout numbers.
3. The Candidates
IEBC announced that it cleared 23 candidates to vie for the parliamentary seat. 16 candidates are sponsored by political parties while 7 are running as independent candidates. However, five candidates are getting all the media attention because of their affiliation with big political parties.
These candidates are Bernard Imran Okoth (ODM), McDonald Mariga (Jubilee), Khamisi Butichi (Ford Kenya), and Eliud Owalo (Amani National Congress). What’s interesting is that these candidates are campaigning hand in hand with the political party leaders. We have seen Raila campaigning for ODM’s candidate, Ruto for Jubilee, and the others doing the same. Why is this so?
2. 2022 preview
Deputy President William Ruto is a man on a mission. He wants to make sure that the 2022 general elections will go in his favor. If there is an opportunity for him to show his political influence in the country, it is to make sure McDonald Mariga wins the Kibra By-Election.
A win for Jubilee might mean ODM’s influence in the constituency has waned and there is a new kid on the block. ODM is clearly avoiding this by pushing Ken Okoth’s brother to win the seat. Raila has even gone on record to tell his voters to vote for Imran for his sake. It seems then that it is a battle for political supremacy between the leaders.
Think about it, have you heard any manifesto from the candidates? I mean a good manifesto. All you see and hear are guys trading blows at each other. You can easily call it the battle of the egos. This is a bad thing because…
1. Not-so-peaceful campaigns
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was on the receiving end of stones after rowdy youth disrupted his address at Kamukunji grounds. They approached his vehicle and started stoning it which forced the police to lob teargas and fired live bullets to disperse the youth.
Ford-Kenya’s campaign at Bhukhungu grounds was disrupted when ODM used the grounds as a stopover for their rallies. The party claimed that they booked the ground and were surprised to find ODM there when it was not their turn.
These two scenarios and more have been the headlines on every local channel. Let’s just say the temperatures are getting hotter as the D-Day draws near. We can only hope for peaceful elections on November 7th.