Marginal shift in numbers may give moral boost
Published on June 13, 2008, 12:00 am
By Standard Team
The outcome of the hotly contested by-elections has marginally shifted the parliamentary balance between Grand Coalition partners, PNU and ODM.
This may, however, only serve as a psychological advantage in their quest for supremacy rather than voting power in Parliament.
ODM, which lost three seats soon after the General Election, won in three constituencies, while PNU got two seats.
But the by-election results, coming just a day after ODM lost two MPs, Kipkalya Kones of Bomet and Lorna Laboso of Sotik in a plane crash, mean that the party is still short of its original 99 seats.
ODM, which had been reduced to 96 MPs, won back Ainamoi and Emuhaya, but lost Embakasi, which it compensated for with Wajir North. The latter had been declared vacant after two contestants locked in a historic tie.
Embakasi and Ainamoi became vacant after the death of Mugabe Were and David Kimutai Too, and Emuhaya after the MP, Mr Kenneth Marende, was elected the National Assembly Speaker.
Were was allegedly gunned down outside his gate in Woodley Estate, Nairobi, in January, shortly after he was sworn in.
Too was shot and killed shortly after Were in Eldoret. A traffic police officer has since been charged with the murder.
Marende was elected Speaker in a hotly contested duel at a time when bad blood characterised PNU and ODM politicians.
PNU, which had 43 MPs, wrestled Embakasi from ODM and also won Kilgoris, which was vacant after chaos prevented the conclusion of vote tallying last December.
The marginal difference made by the by-elections to ODM and PNU may not count much in parliamentary voting power in the Grand Coalition, but provides a fallback position in politics when the two partners face off on several issues.
For example, the two sides have tussled over amnesty for post-election crimes’ suspects, resettlement of IDPs, protocol and Government appointments.
Recently, they have resorted to full political war in the campaigns for the by-elections.
Former Nairobi Deputy Mayor, Mr Ferdinand Waititu of PNU, beat former Adopt-a-Light managing director, Ms Esther Passaris, with 36,536 votes against 27,339 for the Embakasi seat.
However, Passaris claimed massive rigging and refused to concede defeat.
In Emuhaya, ODM’s Dr Wilbur Otichillo beat Mr Julius Ochiel of Kaddu with 10,947 votes against 8,488. Former MP, Mr Sheldon Muchilwa of Kenda, was third with 3,177, while PICK’s Mr Mark Echoka got 2,218.
In Ainamoi, Mr Benjamin Lang’at garnered 17,532 votes to claim the seat left vacant after the death of his elder brother, Too.
Lang’at beat his closest challenger, Dr Paul Chepkwony of UDM, who bagged 15,689 votes, Kanu’s Mr Paul Chirchir 1,440 and Agano’s Mr John Kibet Keino 428.
In Kilgoris, where voting was preceded by tension pitting two communities, former Immigration minister, Mr Gideon Konchellah of PNU, beat ODM’s John Ng’eno with 33,199 votes against 25,236.
In Wajir North, ODM’s Mr Mohammed Gabow trounced sole Kanu rival, Dr Abdulahi Ali, with 5,759 votes against 4,729.
The two candidates made history in the December elections when they tied at 3,675, leading to the repeat poll.