In Summary
  • Kibra needs a person who has been raised there, knows the area well and understands the residents’ miseries.
  • But affiliation for credits, publicity and superiority and fame should never be considered as a leeway to political seats.

Most sports icons who have tried their luck in politics have ended up losing in the election.

Maybe as football star McDonald Mariga seeks the Kibra seat, he could turn things around for athletes.

Wilfred Bungei, the 2008 Olympic 800 metres champion, lost the Emgwen Constituency race in Nandi County to incumbent Alex Kosgey, former Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey’s son.

The previous year, Ibrahim Hussein, the first African to win New York City Marathon and three-time Boston Marathon winner, had lost to former MP Elijah Lagat (2008-2017) in the party nominations.

In 2013, former Africa 800m record holder Sammy Kosgei, a one-time nominated councillor in the defunct Nandi County Council, was beaten to the seat by Mr Lagat, who lost it in 2017.

Simion Bor, the 2006 Hong Kong Marathon winner, lost the Kosirai MCA seat. Daniel Rono pipped former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang to the Keiyo South parliamentary seat.

FAILED ATTEMPTS

In Cherangany, Wesley Korir, the 2002 Boston Marathon winner, lost his seat to current MP Joshua Kutuny.

Christopher Cheboiboch, a runner up in Boston and New York City marathons, could not defend his Emsoo Ward seat.

Gilbert Koech, the winner of the 2009 San Antonio Marathon in the United States, lost the race for Keiyo North parliamentary seat to incumbent James Murgor.

Koech is the husband of two-time London Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat.

Wilson Boit Kipketer, a former world 3,000m steeplechase record holder, could not retain his Kabiemit Ward seat while Charles Cherono, a former marathoner, failed to defend his Kibigos Ward seat in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

Daniel Kipng’etich Komen lost the Racecourse MCA seat in Eldoret. Komen holds three world records — 3,000m (indoor), 3,000m (outdoor) and two miles.

Edwin Kariuki, Mombasa

* * *

Politics and football share a variety of analogical similarities and concrete differences.

But both are independent entities that need no non-starters.

Kibra is of the son of the soil. It needs a person who has been raised there, knows the area well and understands the residents’ miseries.

Residents want a serious person who can fit in the late Ken Okoth’s shoes by replicating hospitality, accountability, determination and true leadership.

However, here comes football star McDonald Mariga, who wants to be Okoth’s predecessor yet he is not a registered voter nor a resident of Kibra.

The former national team player is said to have never even participated in any community development activities there as expected of him, as a way of giving back to the society.

But affiliation for credits, publicity and superiority and fame should never be considered as a leeway to political seats.

Caroline Opiyo, Mombasa