A last-minute political strategy employed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga could be the last nail on the coffin of Deputy President William Ruto’s onslaught in Kibra.
Initially, Odinga had perceived the Kibra by-election as an easy decision until DP Ruto came into the bigger picture.
While Jubilee candidate McDonald Mariga appeared as a weak candidate without a previous track-record in the slums and a general lack of charisma, the former football ace has been learning on the job.
Morphing quickly to be among the favourite candidates, Mariga seems to have been taking serious lessons from his political godfather Dr William Ruto.
It is his meteoric rise to popularity, perhaps that led to a last-minute decision by ODM supremo Raila Odinga to devise rapid plans to take the wind out of Jubilee’s sails.
Initially unknown for townhall strategy meetings, Odinga was forced to employ this DP Ruto’s tactic for the better part of last week in order to counter Mariga’s growing popularity in Kibra.
In the meetings, Odinga met with tribal opinion leaders from the Kisii, Kamba, Luhya, Nubian and Somali communities who pledged to deliver votes to ODM candidate Imran Okoth.
Odinga is reported to have opened his purse this time after realizing that Kibra constituency could easily slip from his grip.
The mobilization strategy came to its climax Sunday when Odinga marshalled a contingent of Governors into Kibra in a rare show of political muscle.
DP Ruto’s small circle of young leaders in Kibra was proof enough he was not in the race to win but to rattle Odinga especially in readiness of the 2022 Presidential elections.
Odinga’s high-profile guests included Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), and James Ongwae (Kisii).
He would also rally KANU Secretary-General Nick Salat and former politician Fred Gumo in a move that showed he was leaving nothing to chance.
As Kibra constituency by-election campaigns come to a close Monday, the stage is already set for the mother of political duels in the city even as ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna promised to run to the courts to compel IEBC to publish a ‘proper’ voters’ register.
The main front-runners in the race are ODM’s Imran Okoth, Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga, ANC’s Eliud Owalo and Ford-Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi.