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Wiper, ODM war of words escalate ahead of Embakasi South mini-poll

Wiper Party Secretary General Judith Sijeny has scolded its coalition partner ODM for fielding Mohamed Sumra in the race, despite the Kalonzo Musyoka’s outfit through its candidate Julius Mawathe bagging the seat in 2017/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 23 – ODM and Wiper Parties are gearing up for a gruesome political contest in the forthcoming Embakasi South parliamentary by-election slated for April 5th with both camps accusing each other of betrayal as both parties are keen to have their candidates win.

Speaking to Capital FM News, Wiper Party Secretary General Judith Sijeny has scolded its coalition partner ODM for fielding Mohamed Sumra in the race, despite the Kalonzo Musyoka’s outfit through its candidate Julius Mawathe bagging the seat in 2017.

“As far as we are concerned the seat belongs to Wiper and the seat is not vacant. We have our own candidate who is defending the seat but unfortunately he is defending it from ODM who is a NASA affiliate party and a brother,” she said.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered for a fresh election in the area after Sumra who had previously occupied the seat for one term between 2007 and 2013 challenged the election of Mawathe on grounds that he was not validly elected.

Sijeny has cautioned if the bravado exhibited by ODM persists it will taint the relationship the two parties hold even as she expressed optimism that Mawathe will retain the seat.

“There is a lot of insults from their side, things which are uncalled for. If they want to campaign and support their candidate let them do it with a lot of respect and tell the people what the person will be delivering to the constituents and not to keep on attacking Wiper,” she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by the party’s Chief Executive Officer Jared Siso who spoke separately to Capital FM News warned that ODM’s actions were proving to be a deterrent in the NASA coalition’s unity.

Siso insists there was a “gentleman agreement” between the two parties that whenever a party had a strength in a particular region then the other would opt out of the race.

“If ODM actually cared about the affairs of the party it could avoid delving into it. If Jubilee did not field its candidate on grounds of the handshake, why would then ODM fights us?.

“I speak with a heavy heart and as a party we are finding it difficult to deal with ODM,” he said.

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At the same time, Siso welcomed the move by a section of Jubilee legislators who threw their weight behind Mawathe on Tuesday noting that the support was yet another clear indication that Wiper’s candidate was the right man for the job.

“The Jubilee leaders have realized that our candidate Mawathe is the best choice for the people of Embakasi and people should not read mischief out of it because as a party we don’t mind the support,” he said.

MPs, Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Charles Njagua (Starehe), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) member Simon Mbugua endorsed Mawathe in the race that will be a battle between Wiper and ODM.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna has however dismissed Wiper’s accusations and termed them as outrageous, affirming that the party through its leader Raila Odinga will in fact spearhead the campaign to ensure Sumra wins in the race that threatens to split the unity of the two parties down the middle.

“In 2017 Wiper fielded candidates against ODM in many constituencies even here in Nairobi. ODM lost the Langata seat because Wiper also fielded a candidate hence making Jubilee to have an upper hand. Personally, I vied for the Nairobi senatorial seat and ran against a wiper candidate who actually got more votes,” he said.

Sifuna dismissed the support extended to Wiper by the Jubilee legislators and termed the act as purely a sham.

“Those are enemies of progress and as a party we were not surprised but we are confident we will beat them,” he said.

Jubilee Party in its statement last week through its Secretary General Raphael Tuju said they choose not to field a candidate with the decision having arrived at through what he described was “after a wide consultation”.

Tuju however, could not indicate whether the decision was arrived at through the National Executive Council (NEC) amid reports that the party is being micro-managed by a select few individuals.

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The move however sparked outrage from an aspirant within Jubilee, Samwel Masaki who accused the party for unilaterally locking him out of the race despite his desire to have his name in the ballot under the Jubilee ticket.

“To prove the gravity of the matter, the Directors of election within the party were never even consulted about the decision to lock candidates out, in fact, they also got to know about the communication through the media,” he said in an interview with Capital FM News on Tuesday.


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