The battle for Ganda Ward by-election on Thursday has turned out to be a matter of do or die for Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa who also aspires to succeed Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi in the 2022 general election.
According to political analysts, the Ganda mini-poll is a litmus test for Ms Jumwa to prove her political supremacy against the Raila Odinga-led party in the coastal region.
Ms Jumwa fell out with the ODM after she began drumming support for Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid and has on several occasions sworn to wipe out the party in the region.
On Wednesday, the vocal legislator together with four other people were arrested and detained at Port Police Station in Mombasa in connection to chaos at the home of Ganda Ward ODM candidate Ruben Katana that led to death of his relative.
Mr Katana's uncle was shot dead in the melee that ensued after the Malindi MP and her team stormed his home where he was meeting poll agents ahead of the by-election on Thursday.
She was arraigned on Wednesday and locked up as court is set to rule on a petition by the prosecution to detain her and her co-accused for 21 days to facilitate investigations.
Ms Jumwa’s political move has seen her fall out with her colleagues in Kilifi County, whom together with Governor Amason Kingi have been advocating for coastal unity and formation of a party to be used as vehicle for 2022 elections.
Although some political analysts adduce that the Ganda Ward by-election victory will also shape up her 2022 gubernatorial ambition to succeed Governor Kingi.
Ms Jumwa would have to battle it out against Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, Magarini MP Michael Kingi, and Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga who have also expressed interest in the seat.
One of her close associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Ganda Ward by-election is a do or die for her to prove that ODM is losing ground in the region even as she strives to sway supporters to DP Ruto's side and the political party she will choose for the next election.