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Is The Handshake Real? Kibra Defines


By Majimaji

Ruto dared to bury Raila politically, Raila in turn challenged to first dig up the grave. This means whoever loses will be buried.

Kibra is undoubtedly the heartbeat of Kenyan politics. True to this fact when Kibra moves, we move as a country politically. We can with little doubt acknowledge that Kibra is the litmus test to political stability in Kenya.

The Late Hon. Ken Okoth, a celebrated ODM Member of parliament who will be remembered as an educational champion passed on this year succumbing to cancer paving way to a by election slated for 7th of November, 2019. The seat has attracted contestants with the main ones being Imran Okoth (The late Ken’s brother) as the ODM candidate, Eliud Owalo (ANC), Ramdhan Butichi (FORD K) and McDonald Mariga (Jubilee).

By the quest of the vote Kibra has divided NASA, an affiliate that held together ODM, ANC, FORD K and Wiper Party and defined it as obsolete through their actions to out-do each other in Kibra.  More significantly, Kibra by election has put the handshake to test. This is a political union that marked truce between Uhuru and Raila after the ‘viciously’ contested elections in 2017 ushering in an evident hope of political stability by giving birth to the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) which aims to majorly address political instability through a shared executive and a more defined leadership system in Kenya that will do away with a winner takes it all result.

After the handshake, it was not expected that Jubilee would field a candidate in Kibra but rather stay way or support the ODM candidate to cement the handshake. However through Mariga, Jubilee is represented and is actively campaigning and determined to win the seat with the prospects a scary fact. It is also not clear whether this is Ruto’s venture or entire Jubilee’s event but definitely Kibra through the by-election now puts to test the truth between UhuRuto Vs UhuRaila political relationships. Who is genuine and who is not? Uhuru’s team through Maina Kamanda and Rachel Shebesh have been seen in Kibra openly campaigning for the ODM candidate baptising him the ‘Handshake baby’. Another vocal Jubilee candidate Moses Kuria has given Mariga’s campaign a wide berth; however this is after his preferred candidate Benson Musungu lost in the ODM nominations.

Is Uhuru and Ruto political marriage intact or are they playing games on Raila? A section of people could be heard asking this when Mariga was seen at statehouse with both Uhuru and Ruto.  But the major concern, not only in Kibra but across the nation has been what if Mariga wins in Kibra? What will be the political impact? What will be the fate of the handshake and notably Raila’s political future? Will the short lived political stability cease? And what will be the prospects of the BBI? Critical thinkers however look at it from the flip side; what if Mariga loses Kibra? What will be Ruto’s political fate? Does this now give Uhuru ‘political permission and goodwill’ to punish Ruto’s perceived defiance against his wishes and the spirit of the handshake?

The reality is that by 8th of November, 2019 Kibra will live to its billing; defining Kenya’s political realities and future.