‘Bedroom’ is the word that was used to describe the battle for Kibra Mp by-election, that attracted a total of 24 candidates.
The seat was left vacant following the death of Ken Okoth mid this year.
At first, the race was all done after the Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM) nominated Imran Okoth as the contestant. Imran is the late Ken Okoth’s brother, and his nomination was seen as an automatic win.
Looking at the past political instances where a politician died and a relative sought to inherit the seat, in rare occasions do the heir/heiress do they lose.
In 2013 for instance, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr first came to the political limelight after his father,Mutula Kilonzo, passed on while in office and serving as the then Senator of Makueni County. His election was a walkover, as he garnered 163,232 votes, beating Philip Kaloki of the NARK Party, who was second with 9,762 votes, John Harun Mwau of PICK party came third with 6,431 votes, Urbanus Muthoka, who was an independent candidate garnered 517 votes and Jane Kitundu of Labour Party was last with 387 votes. This was more than 90 percent of the total votes cast.
In this scenario, Kilonzo Jnr ran under a Wiper Democratic Party ticket, his father’s party.
In another incidence, in September 2008, the late Joyce Laboso was easily elected to parliament to represent residents of Sotik Constituency following the death of her sister Lorna Laboso, who died in a plane crash. Lorna was the then MP.
In another incidence, which proved how party waves work in Kenya, Eugene Wamalwa sought to succeed his brother Michael Wamalwa Kijana in the Saboti MP seat. Eugene Wamalwa vied for the seat under little known Republican Party of Kenya (RPK) but lost to Davies Wafula Nakitare of NARC. In 2007, he discovered his mistake, of using a party not known to his people, and changed tact to vie for the seat under Ford Kenya ticket, and won. Ford Kenya is synonymous to the Luhya nation, currently led by Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula.
Recently Edith Nyenze succeeded her husband Francis Nyenze in Kitui West Constituency under Wiper Party.
In 2014, Moses Kajwang’ was aslo a beneficiary, succeeding his brother Otieno Kajwang’ as the Homa Bay Senator, famed for the ‘Bado Mapambano’ political slogan.
In 2008, Beatrice Kones got elected following her husband’s death in a plane crash on June 10.She lost the seat in 2013 but reclaimed it in 2017.
In the Kibra by-election, all Imran was required to do to secure what is perceived as Raila Odinga’s ‘bedroom’, was to remain in his brother’s party, ODM.
In fact, the campaigns were more interesting than the voting and the tallying, since there was an obvious winner. In fact, the main rival to Imran, McDonald Mariga conceded before the tally was done, when Mr Okoth had 4,988 of the counted votes while Mariga had 2,106.
The contest was seen a battle of titans between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, who are flexing muscles over 2022 politics and a suspected looming referendum.
In the morning, Ruto tweeted issued a political threat to ODM, saying that they have “issued a notice (of vacation) for the seat”.
“Pongezi Benard Okoth for Kibra. Congrats Mariga, Team Jubilee & supporters for daring the so called ‘bedroom’, braving the chaos/violence, to double our vote from 12%(2017) to 26% now. Our competitors came down 78% (2017) to 52%. They retained the seat we have served notice,” tweeted Ruto.
Pongezi Benard Okoth for Kibra. Congrats Mariga, Team Jubilee & supporters for daring the so called 'bedroom', braving the chaos/violence, to double our vote from 12%(2017) to 26% now. Our competitors came down 78% (2017) to 52%. They retained the seat we have served notice.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) November 8, 2019
This means that Mariga (Ruto) was not in the race to win, but to shake the perceived ‘bedroom’, and he expected a defeat.
Ruto currently has no ‘allies’ in the city politics, and the race seems to be in preparation for 2022 when he will be eying the top seat, and will require representation in the city which is the biggest revenue contributor in the country.