The results of Friday by-elections sparked a fierce debate on social media, as Deputy President William Ruto’s supporters took credit for the victory.
While a section of ODM supporters and party leader Raila Odinga dismissed this, saying Jubilee didn’t field candidates, Ruto’s camp appeared determined to twist the knife.
The DP was quick to congratulate the winners, Wiper’s Julius Mawathe of Embakasi South and David Ochieng, who floored ODM candidate Christopher Karan in Ugenya.
“Jameni wacheni mungu aitwe mungu (Let God be called God). The hustler nation has spoken, the people have decided. Glory to the Almighty God,” DP tweeted. To Ruto’s supporters, ODM loss is befitting for a leader they have openly loathed.
A section of Kenyans were quick to remind Siaya Senator James Orengo and other leaders that they told Ugenya constituents that a vote for Movement for Democracy and Growth candidate was a vote for Ruto.
“A vote for Ochieng is a vote for Ruto,” Mr Orengo said during campaigns at Sega market.
Kakamega Senator Cleopha Malala said: “Kipchumba Murkomen (Marakwet Senator) and Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot were given money to take to Kisumu for Ochieng’s campaign. When you go to vote make sure that you either vote for Raila or Ruto,” Malala said during the last campaign rally in Sega township.
Yesterday, Wiper director of communication Onesmus Kilonzo sought to distance Mr Mawathe’s victory from Ruto or his team. “ODM’s attempts to associate Mawathe and Wiper with Ruto and his Tanga Tanga team also fell flat. If anything, Wiper won that seat in August 2017 even when ODM and Jubilee had candidates anyway,” he said.
The Wiper candidate who garnered 21,628 against Irshad Sumra’s (ODM) 7,988, thanked among others the Jubilee Party for giving him an early win after they declined to field a candidate.
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And in a statement by ODM conceding defeat, the party congratulated President Kenyatta for pulling out Jubilee Party candidates in the two constituencies in the spirit of the handshake. “That decision made the by-elections a friendly contest between familiar allies and parties,” said the statement signed by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.
Mr Cheruiyot claimed ODM was to blame for the loss saying they “made William Ruto a campaign issue.” He tweeted: “(ODM) described their competitors as Ruto’s Men. The voters have returned the verdict.”