How Kibra By-election Campaigns Have Taken Tribal Dimensions

With only four days remaining to the long-awaited Kibra constituency by-election, different candidates in the constituency have intensified their campaigns to woo voters into their camps.

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And as part of the strategy, most political parties contesting in the mini poll have now tasked their MPs with mobilising their ethnic blocs as the scramble for votes nears home stretch.

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From the current mobilisations, it is now imminent that the Luyha community is the most sought after ethnic group, having been identified as the majority and as a group that has the highest chance of tilting the vote.

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Other groups that the candidates are luring are the luos, Agikuyu, Kamba, and the Abagusii.

On Saturday, Raila Odinga who is banking on members of his Luo community to fully support ODM candidate Imran Okoth teamed up with two leaders from the Ukambani region.

Raila hosted Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Kitui counterpart Charity Ngilu in Kibra in a bid to woo Kamba community to support the ODM candidate.

Long before Saturday’s meeting, Raila had also met a delegation of representatives from the Gusii community who resides in Kibra on Friday as one way of ensuring that ODM banks fully on the community’s support.

Friday’s meeting came after Raila also met representatives from the Agikuyu community on Tuesday last week. Through his twitter account, Raila announced that the community had fully agreed to support ODM candidate in the constituency.

Mr. Mbadi said Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda has been tasked with rallying members of the Kikuyu community behind the ODM candidate.

“We have been doing door-to-door campaigns. Luo MPs have been meeting Luo voters. Luhya and Kisii MPs have been meeting their people too,” Mbadi said recently.

Raila and ODM are not the only parties banking on tribal dimensions to woo voters to their sides. Dr. Ruto has also been hosting delegation groups from various communities to woo support for Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga at his Karen residence.

The DP has also met delegations from the Luyha community, Luo, Kamba and Kikuyu communities at his residence something that caused jitters from some of the ODM leaders who threatened to burn Ruto’s residence voter bribery claims.

Also spearheading Mariga’s campaign is former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who are also Luhyas. The two leaders have played a major role in ensuring that the Luyha votes get into Mariga’s basket.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who is a close ally of Ruto, recently explained that Jubilee MPs have been divided into groups that will rally specific communities to support Mariga.

Mr Barasa said he will be in charge of Lindi Ward. He noted that the ward has a good number of Luhyas. Charles Njagua (Starehe), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and John Kiarie (Dagoretti South) have all been assigned to take charge of campaigns in Woodley; populated by Kikuyus.

MPs Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East) and MP Vincent Musyoka (Mwala) will reach to Kamba voters in Laini Saba Ward, while former senator Boni Khalwale and MP Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) are spearheading campaigns in Makina Ward.

Langata MP Nixon Kori will be in charge of Sarangómbe Ward.

However, other candidates are hoping that this time voters will be guided by other factors besides tribe when electing their MP.

Mr Owalo said his campaigns will not target communities. Instead, he will talk to voters about his manifesto.“My tribe is my agenda. I will not campaign on a tribal platform. I will talk to the people about my agenda,” Owalo said.

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ANNC party leader Mudalia Mudavadi has insisted that the people of Kibra will not vote for the tribe but for the person who will serve them “and Owalo fits the bill.”

Ford Kenya candidate Butichi, on the other hand, has been telling residents not to forget “their son” when they vote. The Ford Kenya candidate was born and raised in Kibra and he says that enables him to understand what the constituency really needs.

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“I am your son. Support me and we will do many great things together,” he told worshippers at a local church.

According to a survey, Luhya voters make 42, 000 out of total registered 118 276 voters n Kibra, with three of the five MCAs. Kikuyus are about 20, 000, Kambas 13, 000 and Nubians 13, 000.






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