In an unprecedented move this evening, President Uhuru Kenyatta has officially endorsed football star Macdonald Mariga to run for the Kibra by-election. This move took many Kenyans by surprise as both ODM and Kieleweke group of Jubilee had been portraying Mariga as being fronted by DP William Ruto.
The endorsement also comes at a time when the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force mandated to take views from Kenyans on the possibility of Constitutional amendments, and to among other things, add a third tier of governance has announced that its report was ready.
BBI was formed following the political detente between Uhuru and opposition leader Raila Odinga. Political pundits including the mainstream media have held the view that the initiative was meant to bar DP Ruto from succeeding Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru’s gesture has sent political shock waves in the country as ODM and its supporters presumably thought that in the spirit of the Handshake, Jubilee would not field a candidate in Raila’s political citadel. Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, in a panic mode posted on his Facebook page, a warning message to Raila, advising him to be cautious on the handshake, alleging that there are no benefits to count from it.
Buoyed by his football stardom, Mariga is expected to give ODM a run for its money in Kibra by-election. The opposition party’s candidate Imran Okoth, who is a brother to the late MP Ken Okoth was nominated in a bungled exercise that led to Raila refunding nomination fees to the 9 aggrieved contestants. It was confirmed that the exercise was rigged in favour of Imran, by senior ODM officials from Orange House
The handshake is on its litmus test in Kibra.