- Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru rooted for the ODM candidate in the “spirit of handshake” between the Head of State and Mr Odinga.
- Mr Kamanda and other Kieleweke team members said President Kenyatta had thrown his weight behind Mr Okoth.
The Kibra by-election is one of the most fiercely contested in the recent past, which has seen Deputy President William Ruto and his arch-rival Raila Odinga flex their political muscle.
The ODM leader’s former allies and partners in the National Super Alliance - Mr Musalia Mudavadi of the Amani National Congress (ANC) and Mr Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya) - also fielded candidates as the outfit that gave Jubilee Party a run for its money in the 2013 elections crumbled.
The mini poll that followed the death of Ken Okoth (ODM) exposed the divisions in Jubilee Party, with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had earlier seemed to endorse McDonald Mariga's candidature, giving the campaigns a wide berth.
President Kenyatta’s allies in Jubilee, led by nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, rooted for the ODM candidate in the “spirit of handshake” between the Head of State and Mr Odinga.
As a result, the contest was turned into a battle between proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and Dr Ruto.
“If you lose in Kibra, you must go back to the drawing board. If the BBI proponents win, it would bolster their campaigns ahead of 2022 elections,” said Mr JM Waiganjo, a Nairobi lawyer and political commentator.
The ODM candidate also enjoyed the support of Kanu, Narc through Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s Muungano Party, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap and Chama cha Mashinani, signalling a new political realignment ahead of the next General Election.
Party politics, ethnic mobilisation, the BBI, the 2022 politics, divisions in Nasa and Jubilee and the rivalry between Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto dominated the search for votes in Kibra at the expense of issues affecting locals - including poverty, poor sanitation, poor infrastructure and health and education challenges.
And for the first time, Kibra residents said they witnessed huge amounts of money splashed by various candidates to win their support.