The ground is set for an epic battle between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto in the Msambweni by-election.
Yesterday, Raila unveiled the Orange party candidate Omar Boga as reports emerged that Ruto is reportedly rallying other aspirants in the race to drop their bids in favour of independent candidate Feisal Abdalla Bader.
While unveiling Boga, Raila gave every indication that the battle for Msambweni will not be a walk in the park for Ruto.
“Those who have struggled must walk to reach the destination. ODM is championing the third liberation not only to change the governance, but to actualise the dreams of the forefathers,” the ODM leader said.
He hit out at the DP saying he has no tangible liberation record.
Raila dismissed Ruto, saying he has failed to create jobs for the period he has been in government and was instead dishing out wheelbarrows and handcarts to hapless youth.
“We should be empowering the youth and Kenyans with necessary skills and competences on how to create wealth and grow the economy. But it is sad that we have some people who don’t want to grow the cake but come with big knives to divide the cake and give crumbs to a few youths. Hii ni upuuzi (This is nonsense),” Raila said.
He said Ruto cannot be entrusted with overseeing a growing economy like Kenya.
“The reformers are known in this country. They have been part of the struggle for Kenya to be where it is today. But there are those who are known to divide what is meant for Kenyans and later share leftovers,” he said.
But Ruto has already hit the ground running to ensure his preferred candidate wins the Msambweni parliamentary seat.
Former senators Johnstone Muthama, Hassan Omar and Boni Khalwale are expected in Msambweni to seek support for a pro-Ruto candidate.
“Let Tangatanga camp here for as long as they want. We shall vanquish them and their local puppets,” Boga said.
The aspirants being persuaded to team up with the ODM team include Msambweni Knut branch executive secretary Bashir Kilalo and Peter Nzuki. Kilalo has reportedly jumped ship from Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) to Coast-based Kadu-Asili which is now affiliated to Ruto.
In 2017, the Knut official vied for the seat on a Jubilee ticket.
Joshua Kombora Korokoro, the Kadu Asili chair, yesterday confirmed that the party gave the nomination certificate to Kilalo on Saturday last week.
Matuga MP Kassim Tandaza confirmed that ANC party had dropped the Knut official as the Msambweni candidate after he allegedly met Wiper Democratic Movement leaders and other rivals.
“We have dropped Kilalo and we are not going to field a candidate in this by-election. I will however back a certain side in this election,” he added.
Kilalo is the latest candidate to be presented to Ruto in Nairobi after Sharlet Akinyi and Bader.
Last Saturday, Bader received a boost after supporters of Kwale County Finance executive Bakari Sebe vowed to rally behind him. Led by former Kwale county council chair Mshenga Ruga and former councillor Fatuma Nchizumo, the DP’s supporters were received by the contestant and MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga, Jubilee) and ODM’s Benjamin Tayari of Kinango.
Sebe, who was being backed by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and his deputy Fatuma Achani, quit the race.
Boga, 48, is backed by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and local party leaders.
United Green Movement (UGM) is fielding Dr Mohamed Mwakahonje.
“We have a very good opportunity to deal with our opponents once again. They are looking for a 2022 polls contest but we are coming to elect a leader who will serve the electorate without bias,” ODM director of campaigns Junet Mohammed said.
IEBC regional coordinator Amina Soud told the contestants to observe the electoral code and ensure smooth polls.
“We are urging the various players to ensure there are no chaos in this election,” she said.