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The many tackles Mariga has so far evaded in his quest for Kibra seat


McDonald Mariga Wanyama’s entry into politics has been anything but rosy.

Even for a man used to avoiding tackles, elbows and shoves on the football pitch in his illustrious football career, the past month has been a nightmare.

And that’s even before his political career formally gets started.

At every turn, Mariga has been confronted with hurdles in his fledgling political career.

But somehow, things have been working in his favour.

Just this week, in a space of two days, both the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Political Parties Tribunal made key rulings that have given Mariga a clear shot on goal in the Kibra by-election scheduled for November 7.

So how has Mariga managed to dribble past his opponents in his bid to replace Ken Okoth as the next Member of Parliament for Kibra constituency?

1. Disowned by Tuju – Mariga was officially introduced to Kenyans by blogger Dennis Itumbi, via a letter bearing a Jubilee Party stamp indicating he was among the nominees for the ruling party ahead of the Kibra by-election.

That development immediately caused a stir, with Jubilee Party Secretary General, Raphael Tuju, disowning the document as ‘fake’.

In political context, that should have been a big blow. But one the player managed to get over it a few days later as Tuju presented him the party certificate following a boardroom deal.

2. IEBC deadlock – After he was done with Tuju, Mariga proceeded to the IEBC offices to receive his clearance. Here, he stumbled on yet another hurdle in the form of IEBC’s Kibra Constituency Returning Officer Beatrice Muli.

The Returning Officer promptly denied him clearance on grounds that his name ‘was missing from the register’.

A stand-off ensued.

But that too was resolved days later when IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati overruled Muli’s decision.

The stage was now set for Mariga to begins campaigns. Right?

Wrong!

3. Hostility within Jubilee – From Moses Kuria (MP, Gatundu South), to Maina Kamanga (Nominated MP), Ngunjiri Wambugu (MP, Nyeri Town), Irungu Kang’ata (Senator, Murang’a), name them.

Mariga doesn’t seem to enjoy the support of a constituency of lawmakers in his very own party. These include those who have voted with their feet – the likes of Johnson Sakaja (Senator, Nairobi), Mike Sonko (Governor, Nairobi) and the rest of Nairobi politicians.

In public gatherings, Mariga has appeared alongside former Senator for Kakamega Boni Khalwale and Langata MP Nixon Korir.

But still, this doesn’t particularly inspire confidence for a candidate who will be coming up against seasoned politicians in opposition parties ODM and ANC.

4. Court petition – In the midst of all this, a voter in Kibra by the name Leina Konchellah has petitioned IEBC to state its position on the issue of Mariga’s age.

“It is curious to note that the complainant presented a national identity card indicating his date of birth as April 1987, and further presented his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate indicating he sat his Form Four examinations in November/December 2002,” says Konchellah, before adding that these documents presented by Mariga could be having integrity issues.

5. Kibra voters – Credit to the lad, Mariga has remained calm all through. In an interview with the media, he said he has ‘forgiven’ his political detractors, adding that his biggest challenge remains convincing the people of Kibra to vote for him as their next Member of Parliament.