In Summary
  • Dr Ruto said over and over again that the Jubilee candidate would win but he conceded defeat to Mr Okoth shortly after vote-counting began following the by-election on Thursday.
  • Through Mr Okoth, ODM proved it still has overwhelming support in the constituency in Nairobi County.
  • The party won the parliamentary seat for reasons such as a strong history, strategic campaigning and Mr Okoth's background.

The Kibra by-election race was tight, if the campaigns and the politicians involved are anything to go by.

Among the 24 candidates were McDonald Mariga of Jubilee Party, Imran Okoth of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Eliud Owalo of Amani National Congress (ANC) and Khamisi Butichi of Ford Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta assured Mr Mariga of his full support while Deputy President William Ruto was toe to toe with ODM leader Raila Odinga during weeks of campaigning.

ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi toured Kibra to campaign for Mr Owalo while Mr Butichi had the backing of his party leader Moses Wetang'ula as well as Wiper Democratic Movement's boss Kalonzo Musyoka.

LANDSLIDE VICTORY

Dr Ruto said over and over again that the Jubilee candidate would win but he conceded defeat to Mr Okoth shortly after vote-counting began following the by-election on Thursday.

Through Mr Okoth, ODM proved it still has overwhelming support in the constituency in Nairobi County.

The by-election resulted from the death of MP Ken Okoth, who was the brother of the MP-elect and a member of the orange party.

With more than 10,000 votes ahead of his closest rival, Mr Odinga's party made its presence and relevance in Kibra.

Mr Okoth carried on with his brother's projects, all the while praised for admirable qualities meticulousness, transparency and humility.

But what other factors saw ODM win the contest?

Raila and allies campaign in Kibra

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Kirinyaga's Anne Waiguru, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Kitui's Charity Ngilu and MP candidate Bernard Imran Okoth during a campaign rally at Woodley grounds in Kibra on November 3, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

STRONG HISTORY

While campaigning for Mr Okoth, Mr Odinga referred to Kibra as his bedroom and said nobody else could be allowed into it.

ODM has enjoyed fanatical support in the area since Mr Odinga served as Lang'ata MP for 20 years, from 1992 to 2013.

For this and other reasons, Mr Odinga told his supporters not to embarrass him, but to instead turn up in large numbers and vote for Mr Okoth.

Also worth noting was the party’s campaign slogan ‘ODM ni Kibra ODM is Kibra' and precedent - ODM led in Kibra during elections even before it was declared an independent constituency prior to the 2013 elections.

A LOCAL

ODM's candidate has lived in Kibra since childhood. He was born in Kisumu Ndogo to a family that later moved to Makina and then to Karanja Estate.

Mr Okoth now lives with his family in a house next to Kibera Primary School, where he, Mr Odinga and his wife cast their ballots.

These factors highly likely swayed a significant number of voters to Mr Okoth's side on the basis of his perceived understanding of their problems and thus an ability to step into his brother's shoes.

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