The dust has just settled on the Kibra by-elections. Congratulations Bernard Imran Okoth on your well-deserved victory.
Beyond the keyboard warriors and mammoth crowds of curious onlookers who graced Jubilee rallies, there was no way the Mariga was going to win.
In fact Mariga performed beyond expectations.
1.Dead on arrival
Prospects of Mariga’s win died the very day his candidature was launched.
A divided Jubilee, his poor public speaking skills, lack to tangible manifesto for Kibra and his lack of knowledge for day today challenges portrayed his as an aloof candidate.
He could not shake off the outsider tag. Jubilee leadership threw him under the bus.
Party leader Uhuru Kenyatta the secretary general Raphael Tuju and the Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja a wide berth.
He was on his own and his candidature was portrayed as defiance against Uhuru by William Ruto, and legislators Dennis Waweru and Maina Kamanda drummed the message home at every meeting.
2. Baba’s bedroom
Raila is a crowd puller, Raila manipulates emotions, Raila creates a siege mentality and presents himself as the savior. In Kibra, this played perfectly well.
Deputy President William Ruto declared that the by-election would be the end of Raila.
Raila turned tables by rallying his supporters that his bedroom had been invaded and they had to come out and help him chase the enemy.
This managed to galvanize his voter base to turn up to vote.
3. Macdonald Mariga
Mariga did not own his candidature. He could not sell himself. He was not articulate. He was not prepared for the race. He met his delegates at William Ruto’s home.
He was not hiding the fact that he plunged in to the race to settle scores not his own.
William Ruto has many enemies, some of them live in Kibra.
Those enemies outside Kibra with means and ways, and determined to cut him to size poured support in cash and kind to other candidates.
In a rare display, there was a joint push from ODM, Jubilee, Narc and Kanu top leaders who pitched for Imran.
As such the antagonism that usually comes to display between the government and the opposition side was not seen.
The police and security agents who usually work at the behest of the government of the day could not be manipulated.
By bringing in leaders from both the political divide, the ODM campaign team gave Imran a nationalistic interest and masked the shambolic nomination process that handed him the party certificate.
5. Operation Linda Kura
Massive voter bribery was witnessed in the earlier hours of the polls.
Several people, including elected leaders met the wrath of self-appointed ODM security who chased the suspected culprits.
This created fear among those who wanted to sway the voters with finances.
6. Ken Okoth
Replacing a dead man in a by-election is one of the most emotive things in Kenya.
History has it that in most cases, the kin of the deceased usually takes over.
In Kibra’s case, Imran had a head start by virtue of having worked as the constituency manager which implied he knew the corners of the constituency and top influencers.
Above all he was the face of the development agenda when his brother was away for treatment. He needed no introduction.
7. Promises and Lies
The Kenyan voter is fatigued.
The Kenyan voter has been canned several times and no longer cares about promises of good roads, stadiums, water and health care.
The Kibra voter was not interested in the out-of this world promises and Mariga’s promise for a stadium and jobs reawakened the jubilee nightmare that voters are waking up from.
There was no way he was going to have it easy.
By Veteran Kenyan journalist Daniel Otieno