Nominated Jubilee MP Maina Kamanda has thrown his weight behind Imran Okoth, the ODM party candidate for Kibra by-elections. Kamanda, who is one of the senior members of Jubilee fiercely supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta, is also a member of the Kielweke group. Kieleweke brings together Jubilee politicians opposed to William Ruto’s bid. The Jubilee MP made the announcement on Thursday after meeting ODM leader Raila Odinga at Capitol Hill in Nairobi.
”Kibra is the stronghold of ODM. We have field a candidate as Jubilee, the candidate was put there by Jubilee, but as a person, I will be with the [candidate] that has been nominated by ODM,” Mr Kamanda said.
He said his support for Imran, brother of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth, is in the spirit of the handshake between Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta after the 2017 election.
“I call him ‘handshake candidate’ and there are so many other members of parliament who want to come and support him, just for one reason: That we have enjoyed peace in our country and we do not want that peace to be thrown out by a few people who do not want to see that we have achieved so much,” Mr Kamanda told journalists.
Boost for Party Candidate Bernard Otieno Okoth (Imran) as Jubilee’s strongman in Nairobi, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda declares his unwavering support for him. He said this when he joined PL @RailaOdinga for a presser at Capital Hill. Dir of Campaigns @JunetMohamed was also present pic.twitter.com/I9ak4p7TnB
— The ODM Party (@TheODMparty) September 19, 2019
“The handshake brought peace in this city…The tension in the city eased and that is what has brought me here,” he said.
He also revealed that the late Ken Okoth was his friend and had fostered good relations with his colleagues, hence the support for the ODM candidate from members of rival parties.
Mr Kamanda’s move is a pointer to the widening rift with the Jubilee Party, which has witnessed internal wrangles sparked by Mr Ruto’s bid to succeed Mr Kenyatta in 2022.
On his part, ODM leader Raila Odinga called for peaceful campaigns void of violence adding that ODM members would conduct themselves in a dignified manner. Imran Okoth will face 24 other candidates including Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga in the by-election slated for November 7.
The Kibra MP seat fell vacant following the death of Ken Okoth who succumbed to colorectal cancer on July 26 this year.