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ODM pulls out from Wajir West mini poll, says decision ‘reciprocal’ to Jubilee Party

KANU’s Ibrahim Abdirahaman who successfully filed the petition against Kolosh will be that the electorate prove him right as he renews his rivalry with the former MP who recently defected from the ODM to the ruling party/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 9 – Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has pulled out from the forthcoming Wajir West parliamentary by-election slated for April 25 citing what it has described as returning the favor to Jubilee Party who never fielded a candidate in the just concluded mini polls in Migori, Embakasi South and Ugenya.

In a move which is likely to be interpreted as ODM conceding an early defeat puts the Raila Odinga led outfit in a precarious situation to explain why the sudden change of heart, this despite making its position known previously that it would defend the seat.

In a statement on Tuesday through the party’s Director of Election Junet Mohammed, ODM threw in the towel terming the move as “reciprocate”.

Mohammed who also doubles up as the National Assembly Minority Whip explained that the decision was arrived at following talks between the top party organs and that of the Jubilee Party.

The talks, he further explained culminated to the mutual understanding that ODM will keep off from taking any sides in the contest.

“The party has arrived at this decision following consultations with the top leadership of the Jubilee Party,” he said.

ODM woes surrounding the mini poll began in February when the incumbent who also vied and won on an ODM ticket in the 2017 general election Mohammed Kolosh ditched ODM for Jubilee Party.

Kolosh’s departure left the opposition outfit scrambling for potential candidates and after boardroom deliberations between the top party organs, they finally endorsed little known Professor Mohammed Yussuf Elmi.

During this time when he spoke to Capital FM News, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna exuded confidence that the party would emerge victorious once the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) blew the whistle.

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Kolosh’s victory was successfully annulled by the Supreme Court on January after he competitor successfully lodged a petition challenging the validity of the poll.

The seat was afterwards declared vacant by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi with the electoral agency setting the date for the fresh poll in two weeks’ time.

Abdirahman Ibrahim Mohamed (KANU) had moved to the High Court to challenge Kolosh’s win that he was not validly elected.

ODM’s withdrawal from the race comes hot on the heels of shocking results in the just concluded polls in Embakasi South and Ugenya by-election where their candidates were flopped by Wiper and MDG party respectively.

In Embakasi South Wiper’s Julius Mawathe outsmarted ODM’s Irshad Sumra by a margin of 14, 000 votes.

ODM’s candidate in Ugenya, and incumbent, Christopher Karani was sent packing by the electorate after he garnered 14,567 votes losing to David Ochieng who garnered 18,730 despite running on a little-known Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party.

ODM Party Leader Odinga has however termed the defeats as a true mark of democracy dismissing claims that the party had been weakened by the outcome.

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