IEBC releases Kibra voter numbers ahead of by-election
There are 118,658 registered voters in Kibra constituency, Nairobi County, the IEBC has announced in a Gazette notice, amid preparations for the by-election on November 7.
The notice dated October 25 and signed by Mr Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, said revision of the voters' register had been completed following a voter verification exercise.
The IEBC said Laini Saba has 17,455 voters, Lindi 16,688, Makina 25,695, Woodley/ Kenyatta Golf Course 28,066 and Sarangombe 30,754.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), whose leader is Mr Raila Odinga, earlier said it needed scrutinise he register so that supporters are not kept from voting because of missing names.
And during a rally in the area on Sunday, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said they will march to Anniversary Towers, where the offices of the IEBC are, if they do not get the list of all presiding officers and clerks before Tuesday.
ODM, Jubilee Party, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress all campaigned in Kibra on Sunday, with a little over a week left to the mini poll.
The parties' candidates are Bernard Imran Okoth, McDonald Mariga, Khamisi Butichi and Eliud Owalo respectively.
ODM leaders said they were certain about a win but Deputy President William Ruto said only Jubilee and Mr Mariga can change the constituency.
Kibra has in the past been plagued by election violence, poverty and lack of proper housing.
The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth in July after a long battle with colon cancer.
Those who support the ODM candidate say he had been working on development alongside his brother, the late MP Okoth.
Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir, who has been Jubilee's campaigns, said focus now switches to door-to-door campaigns as they prepare for the last rally on Sunday at DC grounds in Kibra.
“We expect all our party leaders to be around unless their schedules do not allow [sic]," he said.
The first time lawmaker exuded confidence Mr Mariga will win as ODM has "no clear agenda" for the people.
He accused ODM of violence, saying that on Sunday, the party ensured Mr Owalo did not hold his rally at Kamukunji grounds. He also claimed the party disrupted Mr Butichi's rally at Bukhungu grounds.
“This proves they do not have any agenda for Kibra. It is shocking that Raila is asking residents to consider a vote for Imran as a vote for him. Who is vying - him or Imran?
"If he did not change Kibra in 25 years age when he was the MP, what new thing will he do now? We are going for a clear win."
The orange party said it it will meet communities and reach out to women on its last rally at Joseph Kang’ethe grounds in Woodley.
Makadara MP George Aladwa said the party and its supporters will march to Anniversary Towers on Tuesday to compel the electoral agency to provide the list of presiding officers and clerks.
“We have given them up to 5pm to communicate the same through their returning officer in Kibra, failure of which the march is on,” said Mr Aladwa, who doubles up as ODM's Nairobi branch chairman.
He, however, refuted claims of being behind Sunday’s, saying ODM was also carrying out investigations.
“We had agreed that we would be at Bukhungu grounds until noon and that Ford Kenya would take over at 2pm but this was not honoured. We don’t know if somebody had a hidden agenda."
Mr Butichi said they filed a complaint with both the IEBC and police for action to be taken against ODM, which he insisted disrupted his meeting.
“We had authorisation to hold a rally at Bukhungu but ODM leaders stormed in and caused chaos. It is now up to the IEBC to make a decision,” he said.
He added that his door-to-door campaigns which will end in a rally at Lindi grounds on Sunday.
Big guns flex muscles as Kibra race turns into 2022 dress rehearsal
Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Rachel, on Friday hosted McDonald Mariga, the Jubilee candidate in the Kibra by-election, for a prayer service at their Karen residence, underscoring the significance the second-in-command attaches to the seat at the heart of the capital city.
Photos of Mr Mariga kneeling down as Ms Ruto interceded for him were widely circulated on social media.
The same day saw ODM leader Raila Odinga traverse the constituency in a last-ditch attempt to woo voters to elect Mr Bernard Okoth.
The battle for Kibra seat is turning into a dress rehearsal for the 2022 elections, as political bigwigs with eyes on the presidency use the platform to flex their muscles.
Rarely has a by-election garnered so much attention.
The November 7 mini-poll has courted unparalleled attention, with the campaigns ceasing to be about the candidates and spiralling into a contest of who-is-who in Nairobi politics, and to a larger extent, a measure of relevance nationally.
Despite claims to the contrary, the contest is shaping up into a show of might between Dr Ruto, his political nemesis Odinga and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.
This has been exacerbated by the fact that most of the contestants are political novices, with only Amani National Congress candidate Eliud Owalo having had a close brush with politics when he worked as an aide to Mr Odinga – he was ODM party’s strategist.
Mr Mariga, a former footballer, had largely kept away from politics. Until recently, he had never registered as a voter.
Mr Okoth, alias Imran, was managing the CDF kitty during the tenure of his late brother Ken Okoth.
Last weekend, Dr Ruto, Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi – all having interest in the presidential seat – stormed the constituency to drum up support for their respective candidates
But rather than focus on the mini poll, they turned the lights onto themselves.
First to speak was the former premier, who pleaded with the residents, who had thronged ODM’s rally in Laini Saba grounds, not to “embarrass him”, declaring that “a vote for Imran is a vote for me”.
The ODM leader went on to underscore his development record when he served as the area MP, saying he stopped land grabbing, punitive rent and started slum upgrade programmes.
But seeming to have listened to Mr Odinga before making a grand entry aboard a chopper into the Lindi grounds, a kilometre or so from where his rival had just completed addressing his supporters, Dr Ruto tore into his former friend-turned-political enemy, castigating him for making Kibra to be synonymous with poverty, violence and underdevelopment.
“It is now or never to change the face of Kibra. We will never be lied to again. We still have water, electricity and infrastructure problems in Kibra, but we will work with McDonald Mariga, Jubilee Party’s candidate, to change this,” said Dr Ruto.
But why the high stakes in the seat? The constituency, hived off the larger Lang’ata constituency ahead of the 2012 elections, has been Mr Odinga’s political base since 1992 when he was elected area MP.
Mr Odinga has enjoyed a near-fanatical support there and oftentimes it has been more like his shrine, where he has always retreated to during his low political moments.
When he was appointed Prime Minister after the 2008 post-election violence, the first port of call was Kamukunji grounds within the sprawling slums.
After the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the 2017 presidential election, Mr Odinga launched his protests at the same grounds that culminated in his mock swearing-in in January 2018.
And he acknowledged this over the weekend, saying: “Kibra residents were at the forefront at my swearing-in at Uhuru Park before the handshake was born.”
Given the importance of Kibra to Mr Odinga’s political career, Dr Ruto knows too well the significance of Mr Mariga emerging triumphant in the by-election.
Former Westlands MP Fred Gumo rallied residents to stop a plan by the DP to embarrass Mr Odinga by dethroning him from his “bedroom”, adding that there are some seats that “we cannot allow to go to the other side”.
For Mr Mudavadi, he is testing waters, with a significant number of votes for Mr Owalo meaning he should not be taken lightly in 2022.
Alfred Mutua strengthens ties with Raila ahead of Kibra by-election
ODM party leader Raila Odinga has asked Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua to rally the Kamba community living in Kibra, Nairobi, to campaign for its candidate ahead of the by-election on November 7.
Mr Odinga and Governor Mutua are expected to address a joint campaign rally at Olympics grounds on Sunday afternoon, to drum up support for Bernard Imran Okoth, the Orange Democratic Movement's candidate.
The surprise move comes two days after ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna declared that the party will form new political alliances after the Kibra by-election.
It has been seen as a response to Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s decision to support Ford Kenya candidate Khamisi Butichi.
The Kamba community in the cosmopolitan Kibra constituency is the third largest after the Luo and Luhya so it is considered a crucial swing group that may decide the outcome of the by-election.
By reaching out to Dr Mutua, Mr Odinga expects to neutralise his partners in the National Super Alliance - Mr Musyoka of the Orange Democratic Movement, Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, whose candidate is Eliud Owalo.
Mr Odinga and Governor Mutua on Saturday met grassroots leaders of the Kamba community at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation's offices in Kibra.
It is expected that Ukambani governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) will join them at the rally.
Mr Odinga tasked Dr Mutua with ensuring the significant Kamba vote goes to the ODM candidate.
Speaking to the Nation, the county chief said they had been discussing ways to collaborate with Mr Odinga, not only for the Kibra mini poll but also for the Building Bridges Initiative.
This closing of political ranks between Mr Odinga and Machakos Governor, who heads Maendeleo Chap Chap party, will not only tilt the Kibra election scales in favour of the ODM candidate but also shape politics in Ukambani region.
Coming only two weeks after Dr Mutua’s party defeated Wiper in the hotly contested Mutonguni by-election in Kitui County, this new found partnership will likely diminish Mr Kalonzo's political standing in a significant way.
Governor Mutua's move will also heighten the battle for the control of Ukambani.
Mr Musyoka, who was Vice President under President Mwai Kibaki regime, was Mr Odinga’s running mate in the last two presidential elections but they have been drifting apart since 2018.
In addition, the Wiper leader's support for Ford Kenya’s candidate is providing a fresh headache as he navigates a tricky political path both in Ukambani and on the national stage.
He said it was in return for the support Mr Wetang'ula gave Wiper in the Embakasi South by-election earlier this year.
Dr Mutua seems determined to capitalise on any opportunity to take the political battle to Mr Musyoka’s doorstep, having declared that he will vie for the presidency come the 2022 general election.
According to political scientist Prof Charles Nzioka, the tapping of Dr Mutua by the ODM leader is an acknowledgement of his growing political influence.
Prof Nzioka, who teaches sociology at the University of Nairobi, said Governor Mutua has emerged as a dependable leader in national politics.
He further said that in view of the disagreements in opposition coalition, his new-found ties with Mr Odinga put Mr Musyoka in an "awkward position".
“The Kibra by-election comes soon after Maendeleo Chap Chap snatched a ward in Kitui from Wiper. It may provide a perfect moment for Governor Mutua to emerge and elbow Kalonzo Musyoka out of the national political table."
Like Mr Musyoka’s Wiper party, Dr Mutua’s did not field a candidate in Kibra but the ODM candidate is being rated higher than the Ford Kenya candidate.
Wiper MPs have largely avoided campaigning in Kibra for Mr Musyoka's preferred candidate but most of them declined to discuss the new developments.
However Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna defended Mr Musyoka saying all parties are competing for political power and that the disagreements in Nasa are not unusual.
“Wiper doesn’t have a candidate in Kibra but it’s obvious that ODM and other parties will use all the tricks in the book, including maligning their partners in Nasa, in pursuit of a win for their candidate. That’s the nature of politics."
Mr Sifuna said their partners in Nasa undermined the spirit of the alliance by fielding candidates to compete with Mr Okoth.
He said ODM will build new coalitions with those who support its quest to recapture the seat left vacant following the death of MP Ken Okoth in July. Imran is the late MP Okoth's brother.
In reference to ANC and Ford-Kenya, Mr Sifuna said, “We have friends from Nasa who want to use the opportunity to formalise their divorce from the coalition."
“Out of this by-election, we are going to count our friends and enemies. New alliances will be formed. We are counting friends such as Maina Kamanda (Jubilee), Cleophas Malala (ANC) and Geoffrey Osotsi (ANC) in this election."
Poor Ruto, Kalonzo, Mudavadi & Weta! How are you going to beat this one? No wonder Uhuru is keeping off this by-election. He knows the owner of the 'bedroom'!
Why Kirinyaga's Anne Waiguru campaigned with Raila in Kibra
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru joined ODM leader Raila Odinga and other politicians in a tour of Kibra, Nairobi, on Sunday out of respect for his March 9, 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ms Waiguru explained her presence alongside Ukambani governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui).
"We must say in plain truth that the country is peaceful because of the handshake. We will protect it," she said.
"The others who claim they want to bring developments are just baiting you. They are a one-man guitar, unlike Imran who is the fruit of handshake."
Bernard Imran Okoth, brother of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth, is the Orange Democratic Movement's candidate for the by-election that will take place on November 7.
His key rivals are McDonald Mariga of Jubilee Party, who has been campaigning with Deputy President William Ruto; Khamisi Butichi of Ford Kenya, whose leader is Bongoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula; and Eliud Owalo of Amani National Congress, whose leader is Musalia Mudavadi.
Mr Odinga, Mr Wetang'ula, Mr Mudavadi and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka are members of the National Super Alliance. Mr Wetang'ula and Mr Musyoka decided to work together in the Kibra mini poll.
Ms Waiguru asked her supporters to vote for the handshake."
"We know our votes are 22,000 in number. Kikuyus, I urge you to vote for the handshake," she said.
"We are not afraid ... we are not shaken by cheap politics. Tumekataa kupangwa (We have refused to be manipulated)."
Regarding the Building Bridges Initiative, she asked the people to support it as "that's where the 2022 government will come from".
"We shall make the government in 2022 and this country will flow well," the governor said.
In his address, Mr Odinga said he drew "much joy" from seeing a huge crowd demonstrate love for peace.
"This is a different gathering; the first after handshake with President Kenyatta. We said we won't turn back until Kenya changes for the better. [We want] better reforms that will kill tribalism, corruption and plunder of resources, electoral fights, youth unemployment and poverty, and bring peace," he said.
He added, "The handshake will build a new Kenya without tribes. They all will be just Kenyans. Every Kenyan in here rightfully. Oneness then development follows ... none is isolated [sic]."
Regarding alliances, he said, "Some say I invite people to my bedroom. What's wrong with inviting people to my bedroom? Are they not friends? Hawa wanasema ni wapumbavu tu (Those talking are stupid)."
He thanked the governors who campaigned with him, saying they recognise the need for Kenyans to unite.
Siaya Senator James Orengo criticised Jubilee's candidate, saying, "In the Constitution, to be an MP you have to know mother tongue, Kiswahili and English. Mariga knows none. He even doesn't know sign language".
He added, "Content and integrity are important. We cannot allow people without a history to stand in the same rostrum with Raila Amollo Odinga. The way to ensure that is to take Ruto home by voting in Imran.
Mr Orengo also spoke of the BBI, saying it will produce the next government.
ODM sues IEBC over release of Kibra voters register
The electoral commission has been dragged to the corridors of justice for allegedly failing to release or publish an updated voter register for Nairobi’s Kibra constituency.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of intending to unlawfully deny residents the right to vote in the mini poll on November 7.
In a suit filed at the High Court on Monday, ODM claims it wrote several letters asking the agency to furnish it with the register but that this was to no avail.
The party led by politician Raila Odinga claims it wrote to the IEBC thrice - on September 20, on September 30 and October 2 - but did not receive any responses.
It told the court that on October 3, the commission offered to supply its lawyers with a copy of a purported copy of the voters register upon payment of Sh 15,000.
However, a perusal of the same, revealed that it was an outdated and truncated copy that was used in the 2017 general election.
ODM alleges that further requests to the IEBC, for an updated register including national identification or passport numbers, polling stations and phone numbers, did not yield any fruits.
While the IEBC explains that the truncation of identification information was aimed at protecting confidentiality and privacy of voters, ODM argues there was no legal basis for this.
According to the party, the commission has violated the Elections Act that was deliberately designed to ensure transparency, verifiability and accountability of electoral processes as well as electoral officers.
“ODM is apprehensive that the said refusal is an outright breach of the law, is in bad faith and unless remedied forthwith, may facilitate fraud or other illegalities against the people of Kibra Constituency by denying persons with legitimate expectation to vote the right to do so,” said lawyer Jackson Awele.
On October 25, the IEBC announced through a Gazette notice that there are 118,658 registered voters in Kibra.
The notice indicated that the revision of the voters' register had been completed following a verification exercise.
It also showed that Laini Saba has 17,455 voters, Lindi 16,688, Makina 25,695, Woodley/ Kenyatta Golf Course 28,066 and Sarangombe 30,754.
ODM, Jubilee Party, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress have fielded candidates to contest in the polls.
They are Bernard Imran Okoth, McDonald Mariga, Khamisi Butichi and Eliud Owalo respectively.
The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth who died in July after a battle with colon cancer.
The Elections Act stipulates that one is eligible to vote if the name appears in the voter register book as well as the biometric registration system.
But ODM insists that the IEBC has withheld the most crucial information and the only means of verifying voter identity yet the by-elections is just three days away.
The party wants the agency compelled to release that information as prescribed in Form A in all polling stations as well as the online portal.
ODM also wants its case determined on priority basis by Wednesday.
Supremacy battles between Ruto and Raila for 2022 national elections aside, may the best candidate for the Kibra constituents win the by-election tomorrow!! The Kibra constituents MUST remain the true winners in it all.
Congratulations to Okoth are in order as Raila floors Ruto in Kibra by-elections if it was really only about a supremacy battle between the two for the next general elections slated for 2022!!
Jubilee's Mariga concedes defeat in Kibra poll
Jubilee Party candidate in the Kibra by-election McDonald Mariga has conceded defeat to his ODM rival Bernard Okoth.
In a video clip, Mr Mariga called Mr Okoth to congratulate him for his victory.
He said he was happy that the contest was carried out peacefully and that they will continue being friends.
Mr Mariga conceded defeat when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) figures from 40 out of 183 polling stations showed he was trailing Mr Okoth who had garnered 4,988 votes with 2,106.
Amani National Congress candidate Mr Eliud Owalo had 1,258 votes.
Ruto locks out his lieutenants after Kibra election loss
Deputy President William Ruto has silently reprimanded his close lieutenants after the Kibra constituency loss, a race largely hyped as a referendum vote pitting him against ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The lieutenants had been promised a win or at worst a loss by a very small margin in a by-election that goes down as one of the most expensive mini polls in recent history.
Disappointed with his foot soldiers, Mr Ruto cancelled a meeting scheduled on Thursday evening at his Karen residence, a close aide told the Saturday Nation.
The campaign leading lights, who had been on the ground, were already on the way to meet him when he called off the meeting.
The close aide, who spoke in confidence, said the Deputy President was infuriated after spending so much time, energy and resources on the campaigns only for the Jubilee Party candidate McDonald Mariga to garner only 11,280 votes against ODM’s Bernard Okoth’s 24,636 votes.
“He feels wasted and drained after the loss,” the aide said. DP Ruto is said to have spent a fortune in the campaigns.
The original plan, according to two DP foot soldiers, had been that they “supervise the polls” then retreat to his residence for a post-mortem analysis, but he could not stand them.
“The boss changed his mind and called to say he’d not be receiving any visitors since it was getting late. He was in a foul mood,” the source said.
In Kibra, residents we spoke to had nicknamed the DP’s residence in Karen “Hotel”.
“He is a very generous man. When we used to go there, he used to give us food and some cash to go home with,” said James Onkundi, a boda-boda operator in Kibra.
Despite the bravado that he has exhibited in his Twitter posts, claiming that the loss felt like a win for him after making inroads in Kibra constituency, Mr Ruto is also said to be disappointed with some Jubilee Party officials who failed to support Mr Mariga’s campaign.
Notably, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and other officials allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to turn up for the campaigns while those who did supported Mr Okoth, the ODM candidate.
As the voting began, Mr Ruto took to Twitter, posting: “The people of Kibra have turned up in numbers to vote for their MP resisting the violence narrative by our opponents. Peaceful voting is going on in many polling centres and security officers are on alert to deal with acts of lawlessness. Change is imminent!”
In an attempt to downplay the loss, he later tweeted, “Pongezi (congratulations) Benard Okoth for Kibra. Congrats Mariga, Team Jubilee & supporters for daring the so called 'bedroom', braving the chaos/violence to double our vote from 12 per cent (2017) to 26 per cent now. Our competitors came down 78 per cent (2017) to 52 per cent. They retained the seat we have served notice.”
The Saturday Nation can reveal intrigues in the campaigns in which police officers based in Kibra, Lang’ata and Kilimani withdrew their services to the Mariga team on the eve and day of the elections.
“Whereas we enjoyed their services during the campaigns, the officers informed us that they had been instructed to stop working with us. Some of them were redeployed and a new team brought to provide security during the elections,” said Higgins Mbugua, a political strategist at the core of the Mariga campaign.
On Thursday, Tangatanga, a group of politicians associated with Mr Ruto, claimed that they had been roughed up by goons as police officers watched.
“We spent the entire morning seeking security, but no one would listen to us. More enforcers were only sent in the afternoon and the officers in most of the polling stations watched as the harassment went on,” Mr Mbugua complained.
Some of the politicians who were either threatened with violence, beaten, ejected from polling stations or forced to flee the constituency were Senator Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), MPs Nelson Koech (Belgut), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Vincent Musyoki (Mwala) and Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
Others were Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and South Mugirango’s Silvanus Osoro. Mr Gachagua’s car was stoned and his bodyguards had to shoot in the air to escape a mob baying for their blood.
Mr Osoro, who entered a tallying centre wearing sunglasses and a kanzu, was roughed up and his bodyguards “disarmed” but their harassers later returned the guns.
Both Dr Khalwale and Mr Barasa were beaten up on two occasions by rowdy youths.
“It was a very difficult place for us to be. There was a lot of intimidation and violence meted on us,” said Mr Koech.
Some of the Tangatanga politicians have denied claims that they were informed of a meeting at the DP’s residence after the polls.
The Belgut MP said that the climate in the constituency after the voting was not conducive even for the agents to meet after the voting.
Dr Khalwale said he spoke to Mr Ruto at 5.30pm and briefed him on what was happening.
“The instruction we got was to remain in the polling stations and closely monitor vote counting to the end,” said Dr Khalwale.
He added that there had been no plans for a meeting at the DP’s Karen home. “Had there been plans for a meeting, the Deputy President would have told me about it,” he said.
Mr Washiali said he had not been informed of any such meeting. “We are yet to convene a meeting for a post-mortem on how we performed as a party in the Kibra by election,” the Mumias East legislator said.
Dr Khalwale and Mr Washiali accused supporters of Mr Odinga of violence and scaring women away from the vote.
Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu shifted blame to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for allowing campaigns for over two months, heightening tension among communities in the constituency.
“We need to be careful how we run and manage our electoral practices. There has been a lot of violence in Kibra, but IEBC is yet to punish anybody. Kibra has provided a good lesson to the Luhya community after they found themselves supporting Mariga while others supported Eluid Owalo of ANC,” said Dr Simiyu, Ford-Kenya secretary-general.
Analysts say the mpoll and the Building Bridges Initiative will change existing political formations and give rise to new affiliations.
Masinde Muliro University lecturer Robert Egesa said the by-election provided good lessons for politicians and could lead to new alliances ahead of 2022 elections.
Reporting by Benson Amadala, Shaban Makokha and Nyambega Gisesa