Kenya: 'Seven Bearded Sisters' Member Enters Race for Vacant Kibra Parliamentary Seat

Former Kitutu East MP Abuya Abuya.

Former Kitutu East MP Abuya Abuya has declared his candidature for the vacant Kibra Constituency parliamentary seat ahead of the November by-election.

Mr Abuya, who also served on the Electoral Commission of Kenya, said that he will fight it out with other candidates for the seat on Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket.

SEVEN BEARDED SISTERS

"I am ready to contest with other individuals eyeing the parliamentary seat in ODM. I am a life member of the party and I am ready to contest for the party ticket," Mr Abuya told the Nation on phone on Wednesday.

The former second liberation fighter and part of the Seven Bearded Sisters - consisting of Onyango Midika, Mwashengu wa Mwachofi, James Orengo, Lawrence Sifuna, Chibule wa Tsuma and Koigi wa Wamwere - said he has what it takes to be the next Kibra legislator as he has lived in the area for 24 hours and therefore understands the plight and needs of the residents.

"I spent several years of my life in Kibra and my children were born there and I still have a residence there. I believe that I have what it takes to clinch the seat if I will be given the ODM party ticket," said the former organizing secretary of the original Ford Kenya.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the area legislator Ken Okoth last month July 26 at Nairobi Hospital after a battle with colorectal cancer.

Last week, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi declared the seat vacant opening the way for the electoral commission to announce a date for the mini-poll through writs in a special Gazette notice of August 14.

MINI-POLL'S DATE

On Monday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that the mini-poll for the Kibra Parliamentary seat will be conducted on November 7, 2019.

The commission has given public officers seven days to resign from their positions if they wish to contest the seat.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati gave the political parties until August 26 to submit names of individuals who will participate in their primaries before submitting the names of their candidates by September 3.

Independent candidates have until August 26 to submit to the commission their names and the symbols they intend to use in the mini poll.

"The campaign period for the by election shall start on September 9 and cease on November 4, being 48 hours before the by election, and shall run between 7am and 6pm" Mr Chebukati said.

INTERESTED CANDIDATES

A number of individuals, including former Members of Parliament and politicians who vied in past elections, are among those positioning themselves for the contest.

Some of those expected to officially declare their interest include Mr Imran Okoth (brother to the late MP), Mr Eliud Owalo, former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra and former nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro.

Others are ODM Secretary General, Edwin Sifuna, Sigar James Agumba and ODM Youth leader Benson Musungu.

With the exception of Mr Owalo and Ms Ongoro, who is former Ruaraka MP, the rest will be seeking the ODM nomination ticket.

However, ODM's top decision making organ, the Central Management Committee, will this week pick a candidate for the mini-poll.

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