ODM’s Imran Okoth secured triumphant victory to ensure the Opposition party stumps its authority in Nairobi politics.
Imran garnered 24,636 votes against his closest challenger Jubilee’s MacDonald Mariga 11,230’s, to give him and his party the bragging rights in the hotly contested seat in which Deputy President William Ruto had vowed to teach ODM leader Raila Odinga a ‘lesson’.
The seat fell vacant when former Member of Parliament Imran’s brother Ken Okoth succumbed to cancer in July this year.
Mariga conceded defeat at 11 pm Thursday, hours before the final results were announced. He sensed defeat when results from 40 out of 183 polling stations showed that Okoth was leading with 4,988 votes against his 2,106.
“Hello boss, this is Mariga, I have called to congratulate you. It was a good race. We did not fight. I am ready for lunch, so that we work together,” Mariga told Okoth on telephone in a video circulated online, “we remain friends and you can always count on my support.”
Imran was poised to win having been his brother’s campaign manager and Personal Assistant.
Friday’s overwhelming victory comes at a time when the Opposition party was reeling losing two parliamentary seats in Embakasi South and Ugenya to give rise to speculation that the Orange party’s appeal to the people was waning in areas seen as its strongholds.
This hypothesis was further put to test by the Deputy President Ruto’s decision to invade Odinga’s ‘bedroom’ by fielding Mariga, the former Kenya and Inter FC midfielder.
“This is our bedroom, we must secure it,” Odinga told supporters Thursday after casting his ballot, “you must come out in large numbers to vote for our candidate.”
The campaign was reduced to a contest between the two political bigwigs that the manifestos for the 24 candidates who had been cleared by the electoral body to vie came as an afterthought.
It was left to the candidates to go the extra mile by conducting door to door campaigns to sensitise their constituents of the plans to uplift their lives.
But Imran appeared to have had an edge above the rest, having been his late brother’s ground-mobiliser, with the sympathy votes also going his way.
Odinga’s support for him also worked in swaying the vote in his favour.