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We shall go it alone, says ODM on by-elections

Monday January 14 2019

Irshad Sumra

Former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra. His election petition against Julius Mawathe was successful and a by-election will be held on April 5, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The campaigns for April 5 by-elections in Embakasi South and Ugenya constituencies have begun in earnest with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ruling out any coalition arrangements before the 2022 general elections as it seeks to reassert itself.

The two parliamentary seats fell vacant after the Supreme Court on December 21, 2018, nullified the August 8, 2017 election of MPs Christopher Karan (Ugenya) and Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South) on grounds that they were not validly elected.

DEAD NASA

Speaking at a Church in Nairobi’s Embakasi South constituency yesterday, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, who led seven ODM MPs in a campaign for former MP Irshad Sumra, dismissed the existence of the Nasa coalition, saying that it died on January 30 when Mr Odinga was crowned the people’s president in a mock swearing ceremony at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park.

The ‘swearing-in’ ceremony was boycotted by other Nasa leaders; Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, who supported Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in the August 8, 2017 election.

“Nasa coalition died on January 30, 2018. If we have to make any coalition, it must be after the general election in 2022. We must assert ourselves as a party,” Mr Wanyonyi spoke at Christ Cornerstone Church in Mukuru Kwa Reuben.

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The other MPs present were Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), George Aladwa (Makadara), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), and Teddy Mwambire (Ganze) and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna.

Mr Kajwang’ further deepened the fears of a dead Nasa when he warned Wiper party leadership against fronting a candidate in Embakasi South. Mr Julius Mawathe, who lost the election petition to Mr Sumra, is a Wiper party member.

HANDSHAKE

“If we are going to travel together and if you think there is something we can do together, we want to hear that Wiper will not field a candidate in the by-election,” Mr Kajwang’ said.

Mr Kajwang’ also claimed that Jubilee will not field a candidate in the area in the spirit of handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

However, there was no immediate verification of the claim from Jubilee even as sources within the president’s party said that there will be a meeting in the course of the week to plan for the by-elections.

Former Ugenya MP David Ochieng, who lost by about 200 votes, successfully challenged the victory of Mr Karan while Mr Sumra petitioned against Mr Mawathe’s election.