Raila Odinga’s party is set to face-off with the Jubilee party at the ballot for the first time since the famous handshake between the ODM leader and President Uhuru.
The two parties- Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Jubilee- have been hitherto avoiding competing in each other’s strongholds and this development could be a further sign of deteriorating relations as the country heads towards the 2022 General Election.
As reported by KIVUMBI.co.ke, ODM unveiled Pavel Oimeke, a man at the centre of a KSh 200,000 bribe claim while the Jubilee party has fronted politician and former MP Zebedeo Opore for the contest.
Raila and Uhuru’s party have been fielding and/or supporting joint candidates in recent by-elections to strengthen their partnership but it appears the center is shifting even as officials from both sides downplay the anomaly.
ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna said Uhuru-Raila handshake should be separated from the by-election.
Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe on the other hand said there is nothing wrong since the seat was not left vacant by an ODM MP.
“Bonchari parliamentary seat wasn’t ODM’s. We have not done anything wrong in fielding a candidate. Last elections we were the runner-up; we want to become number one now,” the outspoken Murathe told Standard Newspaper.
The Bonchari seat fell vacant following the death of MP John Oroo of PDP-which has teamed up with United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to field the late MPs widow Teresa Bitutu.
UDA has been strongly linked to Deputy President William Ruto. The by-election is slated for may 2021.
It should be remembered that Jubilee has avoided fielding candidates in by-election like Msambweni, Kilifi, Matungu as well as Kiamokama ward in which ODM performed strongly. Winning or coming second in each.
In Kibra constituency, Uhuru and his loyalist supported ODM’s candidate even though his deputy William Ruto unveiled footballer MacDonald Mariga as a Jubilee candidate, who later emerged second in the contest.
While Kisii Nyanza is on paper considered an ODM zone, the party failed to capture any parliamentary seat in 2017 General Election.
The entry of Jubilee thus means Raila’s party has to pull all the stops so as to reclaim it’s much hyped national outlook and not appear as a Luo Nyanza party.
It might not help matters a lot considering ODM handed nomination certificate to a political novice even though it is believed he enjoys support among youthful voters.
There have been jitters in ODM camp that some powerbrokers in Jubilee are working hard to destroy the relationship Raila and Uhuru established after the handshake.
While it was highly believed Uhuru would support Raila’s presidential ambitions ahead of 2022, ODM seems to be working on a coalition arrangement which it said would ‘shock the county,’
Speculation has been rife Raila Odinga could team up with Ruto for next year’s election considering his former allies- Moses Wetangula, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Musalia Mudavadi have decamped and formed One Kenya alliance alongside Gideon Moi.