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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 14 September 2014


What was expected to be a peaceful Okoa Kenya signature rally at Kibra’s Gatwikira turned chaotic when area MP Kenneth Okoth was booed and heckled in his own constituency. Cord leader Raila Odinga who graced the occasion sat helplessly as Okoth was forced to cut short his speech.

Trouble for Okoth began when he was invited by the Lang’ata ODM chairman Ochieng’ Jera to address the rally. Even before he took to the podium, angry youths started shouting and jeering as they waved placards with Raila’s 2013 presidential campaign head Eliud Owalo’s portrait.

But what is raising eyebrows is the fact that even as the youths shouted down Okoth, Raila sat calmly as if nothing wrong was going on. This has now led to the speculations that Raila is also in support of Owalo to vie for the seat in 2017. Many had hoped that Raila would take over and calm the crowd to give Okoth time to address them.

Owalo on the other hand has dismissed Okoth’s allegations saying he was invited to the meeting by the voters and revealed that he has been undertaking a number of development projects in the constituency on invitation from the voters.
It is said that Okoth has lost touch with the locals who are now demanding for his removal. Incidentally, it is those who voted for Okoth who now are his bitterest critics.

Sources say Owalo is set to vie for the Kibra seat in 2017 and has been carrying out activities in the constituency. There are even reports that he is now leading an exercise to collect signatures to recall Okoth.

During the last general elections, Okoth was declared the winner after he garnered 41,047 votes against his closest challenger Fredrick Amayo of Federal Party of Kenya who garnered 16,933 votes.
Others were Hezekiah Wairunge of UDF (3,223), Hudson Omenda of National Agenda Party (442), Noordine Taib of Kanu (765), Said Ibrahim of TNA (12,086), Sigar Agumba of Labour Party of Kenya (389) and Yasin Ibrahim of Unity Party of Kenya (567).

During the ODM nominations in Kibra, Amayo was at first declared the winner but hours later, the returning officers reversed their claim that the confirmed winner was Okoth.

Sources claim Amayo had beaten Okoth hands down but he had the blessings of the ODM secretariat and some members of the elections board who gave him the nomination certificate.
Amayo had to decamp to the little known Federal Party of Kenya.

Considering the ODM and Cord wind that was blowing across the length and breadth of Kibra and with Amayo managing such substantial votes, he is a politician who cannot be ignored come 2017.

Some youths were heard shouting “Ken has no time for us. He treats us like third-class people. We don’t want him”. It was only the Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa who managed to calm down the crowd but Okoth had to cut short his speech.

Others say Okoth delinked himself with the people immediately after his victory and has become a rare visitor in the squalid Kibra. A Nubian elderly woman in whose house Okoth used to hold meetings recently told him off at a wedding when Okoth asked her how she was doing and she told him he knows her house if he wants to know how she is doing. The woman aged 64 years was later heard saying that her phone is not Whatsapp-enabled as to communicate with Okoth whom she said she had heard meets his constituents on Whatsapp and Twitter. The slum dwellers say they only reload their phones with Sh10 bambas which is not enough to last them a minute in Whassup.

Okoth is also accused by residents of being a tribalist and a nepotist whose CDF office is allegedly run by his brother and a clique of tribesmen and women. The lingua franca in the CDF office is purely dholuo and woe unto you if you are Kamba, Nubian, Luhya or Kikuyu seeking CDF aid or bursary, residedts claim. After the 2013 elections, there was talk that he should resign to force a by-election that would have seen Raila in parliament but he stood his ground saying he had done too much campaigns to just let go the coveted seat.

During the last general elections, Raila had wanted his son Fidel to contest the Kibra seat but this received very hostile reception and the matter died a natural death. Fidel then shifted his attention to Langata where he was thrashed at nominations.

Although Owalo resigned from Raila’s secretariat in March this year, it seems he is still viewed as valuable by Raila. His resignation letter cited attacks from deputy minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo.

Owalo in his resignation letter said that in the past two years, he had to endure backstabbing, innuendos and political intrigues from political busy bodies including Midiwo.
“I cannot reconcile my conscience with the latest attacks from Jakoyo who in my considered opinion and belief has no technical capacity to advise me on anything,” he said.

If Fidel goes for Langata seat as it is being planned, he will face of with dour MP Joash Odhiambo of ODM. During the last general elections, Fidel’s name featured prominently and what many people did not know is that he contested the Lang’ata ODM elections but was defeated and retreated and is now said to be scheming afresh to capture the seat in 2017.

But what is now worrying Raila and his plot to have Fidel capture the seat is that the trend that Luos have been registering in Kibra and Lang’ata will not be there in 2017.

Since the defection of Raila from Ford-K to NDP in 1995 which occasioned a by-election in 1996, Luos from all over Nairobi and even Nyanza have been flocking Kibera to register to vote for Raila. It is said people used to come all the way from Bondo constituency and as far as from South Nyanza to vote for Raila.

This will not be the case in 2017 since Raila will not be a candidate. It is for this reason that the Lang’ata and Kibra seats are up for grabs in 2017 and it is far from guaranteed that a Luo will be victorious since their numerical strength in Kibera will not be the same as in previous elections any more. But should Owalo vie, he is likely to carry the multitude of the Luo and Luhya vote in Kibra if no strong Luhya candidate will emerge. Already, Owalo has put his line-up in place complete with his ward rep aspirants and in Makina ward he has Gore Mohammed who contested for the Kibra seat in 2013. Gore was Makina councillor in the last term. The current rep is a one Babu who was in the last term councillor of neighbouring Lindi. Babu has reportedly declared that he will go for the Kibra MP’s seat.

In Langata, Odhiambo garnered 25,394 votes against his closest challenger Nixon Kiprotich of URP who garnered 17,740 votes. Others were Andrew Kibe of UDF (1,737), Daniel Bogonko of People’s Democratic Party (2,332), Dianah Njeri of Peoples Party of Kenya (3,760) and Douglas Mbuvi of KNC (871)

Others were Robert Kipkemboi of RSC (529), Fred Oduke of Ford-K (256), Hasheem Simba of Safina (960), Jacob Otieno of WDM (9,404), Jefitha Motaro of Ford-People (1,415), John Kibathi of TNA (11,932), Margery Nduta of Saba Saba Asili (389), Salome Nyamuiru of RBK (626)and Stephen Kipruto of the Independent party (119) votes.