, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 18 – Former Kitutu Chache South ODM parliamentary seat aspirant Antony Kibagendi has defected to the Jubilee Party.
Kibagendi who was formally received at the party headquarters on Sunday by Secretary General Raphael Tuju and National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, cited the party’s commitment to democracy, unity and inclusion of the youths in governance as the reason why he had opted to join the ruling party.
“I have been in ODM representing the interests of young people but over time we have realized that there’s no space for the people of our generation and for that reason we thought it is important to be on the right side of history,” Kibagendi, a former ODM commentator in a local radio show told the press.
“This was informed by how the party primaries were conducted. All young people were systematically locked out in ODM and most of the National Super Alliance affiliate parties,” he added.
He vowed to lobby in his constituency and the larger Kisii county to ensure the Jubilee Party wins at least seven out of thirteen parliamentary seats, as well as the senatorial slot, governorship and the presidential vote.
He urged residents of Kisii county to coalesce into Jubilee where according to him, the community stands a better chance of prospering.
“Be sure we will get a minimum of seven parliamentary seats and get the gubernatorial seats for Kisii and Nyamira,” he said.
The Kitutu Chache South politician had last year expressed displeasure over the manner in which the Raila Odinga-led orange party was handling politicians he said were flirting with the government saying they should be locked out of the party.
“Someone like Richard Onyonka is a pretender. He will go back to his old ways after getting what he wants in ODM,” Kibagendi said at the time.
Onyonka (incumbent) and his Bomachoge Chache peer Simon Ogari however returned to the party pledging allegiance to Odinga during a National Delegates Convention held later in the year.
Welcoming Kibagendi to the party, Duale said he was convinced of a clear victory come August 8 saying the government’s record sets it aside from its challengers.
“We’re winning because we have a scorecard. We’re winning because we want to carry the country together. We’re winning because we have a good leader – Uhuru Kenyatta,” the majority leader said.
“Building the economy and improving the economy from 4.5 to 6 per cent growth rate in the last four years is not enough if the people of Kenya are not unite,” he added while calling for unity ahead of the general elections.
Duale also called upon Odinga to apologize to the nation over hate remarks he made during his campaign trail in Kajiado in the recent past saying the country cannot head back to violence witnessed in 2007/08.
“Kenyan have a right to live and do business in any part of the country,” he said.
Kibagendi was accompanied by about one hundred youths who pledged allegiance to Jubilee.