orange county

Kenya: Odinga’s crucial Kibra by-election approaches

By Morris Kiruga, in Nairobi

Posted on September 6, 2019 12:58

It is not entirely implausible that a third candidate unrelated to either party could win, but Kibra is Odinga’s to lose.

The parliamentary seat for Kibra Constituency fell vacant in July after the death of its 41-year-old member of parliament. The by-election for his replacement is scheduled for November 7th.

  • The late MP Ken Okoth had won praise for his efforts to improve conditions for his constituency, covering Kibera slums.
  • He was also an outspoken advocate for decriminalizing medical marijuana.
  • Before 2013, when Kibra was part of the larger Lang’ata constituency, opposition leader Raila Odinga was its MP. Lang’ata was Odinga’s stronghold for over two decades until the electoral rules changed, preventing presidential candidates from serving as MPs.

For the opposition party, losing the Kibra seat would reduce its numbers in parliament and its already waning power in Nairobi. The future Kibra Constituency MP will need to meet the high expectations set by the late MP.

  • The governing Jubilee Party will have a tough time promoting Mariga, but a win could cement its hold on Nairobi.
  • It could also strike a blow to the political truce between Kenyatta and Odinga.

Kibra has 118,276 registered voters, and is one of Nairobi’s 17 constituencies.

  • Currently, the governing Jubilee Party holds nine; Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) holds six; the ODM’s coalition ally, Wiper Democratic Movement has one.
  • During the 2017 elections, ODM lost the Nairobi governor seat, reducing its hold on the city’s electoral politics.

Last month, at least 24 people were running on the ODM ticket for the Kibera Constituency.

Only 11 have been cleared for the party’s nomination exercise scheduled for September 7th.