By Emeka Mayaka
McDonald Mariga, the Jubilee candidate in the Kibra by-election, has conceded defeat.
In a video shared on social media, Mr Mariga thanked his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rival, Imran Okoth, for a race well fought and offered to be of assistance if needed.
But Mariga said that he would remain in the Jubilee Party and thanked supporters for rallying behind him.
Now ODM leader Raila Odinga can rest easy after his party retained the Kibra seat despite a spirited fight by Deputy President William to snatch it for Jubilee Party.
An ODM loss for Kibra, which Raila Odinga cast as his
bedroom during heated campaigns, would have been a painful humiliation.
Raila was MP for the area for two decades when it included
Langa’ta, now an independent constituency represented by Jubilee Party’s Nixon
Kibra Constituency has been the arena on which Raila and
Ruto have battled in what is being termed as a rehearsal for the
highly-anticipated 2022 presidential election.
Raila and Ruto pitched tent in the constituency in what is
largely seen as the Deputy President’s attempt to send message to his once
Pentagon colleague in 2007 General Election which led to post-election violence
over alleged vote rigging.
The DP is seemingly venturing beyond his Rift Valley
stronghold, seeking to make new ground and allies outside of his backyard.
Raila, on the other hand, was keen to demonstrate that he still has a grip on
his strongholds having lost the Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections.
Ruto who hopes to
succeed President Kenyatta in 2022 appeared to use Kibra as a test ground for
his battles with Odinga, whom he perceives as his greatest political opponent.
And though his
candidate may have not won, Ruto’s supporters say he succeeded in rattling
So high were the
stakes that Odinga had to fly home from a trip in Nigeria to cast his vote at
Old Kibra Primary School.
“We are in our
bedroom. I want to urge our people to protect our bedroom against infestation
by strangers and outsiders,” said Raila shortly voting.
Parliament were almost paralysed after both Jubilee and ODM politicians trooped
to the slum constituency to monitor the voting which was marred with claims of
voter bribery and violence.
While the DP had
rallied his troops to vote for Jubilee Party candidate McDonald Mariga, the ODM
leader waged an aggressive campaign in support of Benard Okoth (Imran), the
brother of former MP Ken Okoth whose death in July occasioned the by-election.
Other candidates were Eliud Owalo of Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani
National Congress and Khamisi Butichi of Ford Kenya.
On Thursday, police were forced to fire in the air to protect
former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East)
and Oscar Sudi (Kapsaret) from an angry mob which attempted to flash them out
of a polling station.
A majority of committees
in Parliament had to call off their day’s business for lack of quorum as
members were in Kibra observing the by election for their respective parties.
And in the afternoon
session, the quorum bell had to be rang several times to call in members for
the sitting to commence.
Two key committees,
Administration and National Security and the Lands committees had to call off
the day’s business due to lack of quorum.
Administration and National
Security committee chairman Paul Koinange said he called off the meeting as
only three members were present.
“Majority of the members
sent apologies as they were engaged in Kibra acting as agents for their
respective parties,” Koinange said.
In the Lands Committee,
the meeting ended half way after members left leaving only their chairperson,
Rachael Nyamai to proceed.
Jubilee MPs in Kibra
included: Korir, John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), Kamau Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and Kericho
Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, while the ODM brigade was led by Simba
Arati (Dagoretti North), Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Babu Owino (Embakasi East),
Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Tim
Wanyonyi (Westlands) Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Odipo Kuome (Karachuonyo)
and Homa Bay County’s Gladys Wanga.
Some motions were
dropped during the afternoon session as the movers were not present.