Nairobi — Jubilee Party aspirant in the Kibra Constituency By-election MacDonald Mariga now says he holds no grudge against those who have been challenging his candidature.
Speaking after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Dispute Resolution Committee cleared him to vie in the by-election scheduled for November 7, the football star said he is now focused on serving his electorate if he clinches the seat.
"I want to thank the IEBC for a job well done. Some people have said so many things about me, but I am a man of few words who does not like exchanging words with anyone. Now that my candidature has been upheld by the IEBC, I call on my competitors to respect that decision and allow the people of Kibra to decide who their next leader will be," Mariga told journalists outside the IEBC Headquarters on Monday, soon after the verdict was issued by Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
"I know people have been saying so many bad things about me, but I am not the kind of person who holds a grudge. I have forgiven them," he declared.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen welcomed the ruling and assured Mariga of the party's support during the campaign period.
"The IEBC has ruled fairly and have given Mariga justice now we will go straight to the campaigns and I want to assure everyone that our party is right behind Mariga to give him the support that he needs. The ball is now in his court to ensure he wins this seat," Murkomen said.
Former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale and Langa'ta MP Nixon Korir accused opponents of sponsoring legal hurdles to block Mariga.
"We know our competitors will continue to bring roadblocks even after this ruling and we will not be surprised if a case is filed in court to challenge the issue of Mariga's age. I want to tell them that the constitution is very clear on who should vote and vie. Mariga is above 18 years and also he is above 21 so the issue of age is a non-issue to us. End of story," said Khalwale to a thunderous applause from Jubilee supporters.
Mariga was cleared on Monday to run in the Kibra by-election, after the commission acknowledged that he is a registered voter.
"The applicant is a registered voter and therefore, the committee has set aside an earlier order by the Returning Officer nullifying his candidature," Chebukati said, "The respondent's decision of 10th September 2019 declining the nomination of the complainant on account that he was not registered as a voter is hereby set aside," Chebukati ruled.
A Returning Officer assigned to manage the Kibra min poll, Beatrice Muli, on September 10 invalidated Mariga's candidature "because his name is not in the voters' register" even after the footballer presented an acknowledgment slip from IEBC.