In Summary
  • The IEBC disqualified him from the race on grounds that his name could not be found in the 2017 voters register.
  • Mr Mariga was hoping to be among the footballers who have left the playing fields of football for that of politics.

Football star MacDonald Mariga started his third week as he has in his short political career — distracting from one controversy by plunging headlong into another.

His opponents in the Kibra Constituency by-election have questioned the validity of his age.

One of the key disputes is his identification number 29801496 which, going by the methodology the Department of Registration of Persons uses to issue ID numbers, does not tally with his stated age of 32 years.

Before he received his clearance to be the flag-bearer, Sunday Nation has learnt that the Jubilee Party questioned the authenticity of the footballer’s ID card during his interview in the party primaries.

The controversy over his age has gone on for several years.

Five years ago, a TV reporter who tried to inquire about his age was almost stabbed while another journalist received death threats.

HANDSHAKE

Other than his ID, various respectable sports websites have given contradictory information on when the football star was born.

Footballtop.com lists that he was born on April 4, 1984, making him to be 35 years old, while Soccerbase.com indicates his date of birth as April 4, 1987 (32 years).

In a previous interview, his father Nicholas Wanyama, said his year of birth as 1981. He has since given contradictory information on the same.

But the controversies about his candidature were not unexpected, either.

It first started with a section of the Jubilee Party leadership pronouncing that the party would not field a candidate during the by-election in respect of the “handshake” between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

After a list was circulated revealing that he was among the hopefuls for the Jubilee Party ticket, the party’s Secretary-General Raphael Tuju denounced it.

VOTERS ROLL

In a turnaround, the party’s NEB cleared his name and nominated him as their candidate for the Kibra by-election, an act which led to the rest of the hopefuls disputing his nomination. They claimed that party functionaries had rigged him in.

Then, last Wednesday, the shocker came after the IEBC disqualified him from the race on grounds that his name could not be found in the 2017 voters register. He has since filed an appeal.

Logically speaking, Mr Mariga and the Jubilee Party are out of the Kibra Constituency by-election race.

Mr Mariga was hoping to be among the footballers who have left the playing fields of football for that of politics, notable among them the legendary Milan and Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, who scored goals for fun throughout his playing career, 1994 World Cup winner Romario and former PSG, AC Milan and Monaco striker George Weah, who is now the President in Liberia.

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