Battle of the handshake? ODM to face Jubilee in Embakasi South By-elections

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

The electoral agency has announced date that by-elections for Ugenya and Embakasi South constituencies will be held on April 5.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced on Thursday evening the date as he dismissed as “malicious and inaccurate” some dates reported by some local media outlets. “Reports by a section of the media regarding upcoming by-election dates are inaccurate and malicious.Relevant notices have been submitted for gazetting accordingly,” Mr Chebukati tweeted.

On December 21, 2018, the Supreme Court nullified the victories of MPs Christopher Karan (Ugenya) and Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South) on grounds that they were not validly elected.

Former Ugenya MP David Ochieng’ challenged the victory of Mr Karan while former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra petitioned against Mr Mawathe’s election.

Image result for Julius Mawathe

The official announcement by Mr Chebukati sets the stage for a tough battle for the two seats.

In Ugenya, Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM), which is the most popular party in Nyanza region, has indicated that it will stick with Mr Karan and avoid a rigorous party nomination process.

ODM’s move will be a blow to Mr Daniel Juma, who is eyeing the party’s ticket.

In Embakasi South, a tough battle is likely to be replayed between Mr Sumra of ODM and Mr Mawathe of Jubilee. The two have already hit the ground running.

However, it remains to be seen whether party affiliation will play a role in determining the outcome of the by-election in light of the political truce, handshake, between president Uhuru Kenyatta(Jubilee) and opposition chief Raila Odinga (ODM).

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