Kanu candidate for the upcoming Wajir West constituency by-election Ibrahim Sheikh, has dismissed an alliance between two of his main rivals, saying he will win.
Mr Sheikh said he’s firmly in the race for the April 25 vote and termed as inconsequential a deal announced by Jubilee Party and ODM candidates last week.
In the deal, ODM flag bearer Yusuf Elmi withdrew in favour of Jubilee’s Mohamed Kolosh in what the two parties claimed was a result of high level consultations.
Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and ODM’s Director of Elections Junet Mohamed announced that their parties had discussed and agreed to work together.
But reacting to the developments Thursday, Mr Sheikh claimed the alliance between Elmi and Kolosh would work against the two.
“They hammered out a deal but moved into it alone. They have not moved with the people,” he said. “I am winning this thing fair and square.”
The Kanu candidate said contrary to popular belief, clannism – long known to be a factor in Wajir West elections - will not play a significant role in the April 25 by-election.
“It’s about issues. Forget these "meal card" politicians. Our people no longer care which clan a candidate comes from. It’s about service delivery. Do they have water, are resources equitably distributed, are there jobs? No one will be discriminated upon because of clans,” Sheikh told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.
Observers say the poll could be a bruising one. Some see the mini-poll as a contest between Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who is also the Kanu chairman.
Last month, there was talk Mr Sheikh was being considered for a state job to pull out of the race. However, sources close to him confirmed he had rejected the offer for fear of “betraying his constituents.”
Last week, National Assembly Majority Leader together with President Uhuru Kenyatta received Kolosh at State House and exuded confidence the ruling coalition will bag the seat, which fell vacant following a successful petition by Sheikh at the Supreme Court.
“Jubilee will win. The region is tired of empty rhetoric,” Mr Duale said.
Kolosh and Elmi’s Degodia clan is the majority in Wajir West followed by Sheikh’s Aljuran.
“The Kanu man has penetrated the Degodia and now has massive following among the Geylible, Maow and Samatar sub-clans. The clan arithmetic may not favour Kolosh as Jubilee may think. He is also planning a major offensive in Rerow Mahmud the core sub-clan of kolosh.” said Ahmed Kuresa, a voter.