In Summary
  • Ms Mbeyu, who flirted with the Ruto camp briefly, has since fallen out with Ms Jumwa and trooped back to ODM.

Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga are testing their political strength in upcoming by-election as lawmakers continue switching camps between the two.

This comes as ODM MPs who had shifted to Dr Ruto’s camp trooped back to Mr Odinga.

A civic by-election in Kilifi is set to rekindle the battle of supremacy in the Coast region between the two.

The Ganda ward seat fell vacant following a successful petition challenging the election of then-ODM candidate Abdul Omar. Mr Reuben Katana, who ran on a Kadu Asili ticket but lost, filed the petition.

Mr Omar, a close ally of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, has since decamped from the Orange party and will contest for the seat as an independent candidate.

On the other hand, Mr Katana has rejoined ODM and secured its ticket to contest the seat. Mr Joseph Kiponda alias Giuseppe’s will vie on Jubilee Party ticket.

SUPPORT BASE

The DP’s camp, led by ODM “rebel” Aisha Jumwa, has already suffered a blow after two of its erstwhile backers, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya and Women Representative Gertrude Mbeyu, rejoined Mr Odinga’s camp ahead of the mini poll set for October 17.

Magarini MP Michael Kingi, who is in Ruto’s camp, has also vowed to support the ODM candidate.

However, Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, a member of Tangatanga, a pro-Ruto team, told the Sunday Nation that ODM did not consult him on the Ganda ward candidate.

“I was not consulted and equally I am not in the picture of how the nomination was done. I will make my decision once I am back in the country next week,” he replied via a text message.

The MPs now join the growing list of Coast MPs who have gone back to the ODM fold after flirting with the pro-Ruto camp for months, and which includes Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori who, like Ms Jumwa, was expelled from the orange party over his association with the DP but was later “pardoned”.

PARTY LOYALTY

Mr Baya told the Sunday Nation on Friday that he would support Mr Katana.

“I am an ODM member and have the obligation of supporting our candidate. That is the party rule, which we all must adhere to. Even when I accompanied the DP in his tour of the Coast and other areas, it was purely because he is a national leader.

“I have never rebelled against my party or my leader at any given time. I am and will remain an ODM member,” said Mr Baya who was one of the most respected leaders in the DP’s camp.

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