The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has declined the Jubilee party’s request to withdraw its candidate from the Bonchari by-election.
This is after allies to the ruling party recently held a closed-door meeting with Orange party officials at Interior CS Fred Matangi’s Harambee House office urging Raila’s representatives to drop their candidate from the mini-polls.
According to The Star Newspaper, Raila cautioned his representatives not to give in to Jubilee’s request saying that the ODM candidate is the strongest of all the competitors.
“We are in Bonchari to win the by-election. I want to see victory in Bonchari. I have my own information that our candidate is the strongest. Let us proceed,” Raila is quoted as saying.
Raila’s party unveiled Pavel Oimeke, a man at the center of Ksh. 200,000 bribe claims while the Jubilee party fronted politician and former MP Zebedeo Opore for the contest among other candidates.
Since the handshake between Raila and Uhuru, Jubilee and Orange parties have been working together in the past by-elections but the two are likely to face off after a heightened behind the scene meetings failed to broker a deal.
According to Chereng’ani Member of Parliament (MP) Joshua Kutuny, talks to settle on a joint candidate had collapsed.
“We have decided that this far, let us allow all the candidates to battle it out at the ballot. When each side feels they have the strongest candidate we don’t need to struggle,” he said.
The by-election is set for May18 and was declared vacant by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission following the death of MP John Oyioka in February 2021.
Kivumbi.co.ke understands that 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.