Nominated Member of Parliament Maina Kamanda must have welcomed the move by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to lock out McDonald Mariga from the Kibra parliamentary by-election.
The former Kenyan international footballer had been nominated by the Jubilee party as its candidate, but was on Tuesday disqualified from the race by the electoral agency after his name missed from the voters’ register.
Kamanda had opposed Mariga’s candidature and vowed to rally behind Bernard Okoth of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
The veteran politician argued in the spirit of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, it was not fair for Jubilee to field a candidate in the constituency considered by many as Raila’s stronghold.
Barely hours before Mariga was knocked out, Kamanda had accused Deputy President William Ruto of bulldozing his way to have the soccer star nominated to be Jubilee flag bearer.
Speaking to journalists, he claimed Ruto’s intention was to wreck the handshake and as a result reignite hostilities between different communities living in the city.
“The Deputy President is not happy with the peaceful environment that the handshake has brought to this country. He does not care about Nairobi people and how they have fought one another for a long time, because he does not have his people in Nairobi. Our DP doesn’t care,” said Kamanda, who is a vocal leader of anti-Ruto Kieleweke group.
“He (Ruto) knows he cannot win that seat but wants to bring a wedge between the President and Raila,” added the former Starehe MP.
Meanwhile, Mariga and his supporters led by former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale maintain he is a registered voter, and have indicated to appeal the IEBC decision.