Kenya: Speaker Muturi Lauds Baraza-Arati Truce After Kibra By-Election Scuffle

19 November 2019

Nairobi — National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has lauded Dagoreti North Member of Parliament Simba Arati (ODM) and Kimilili MP Didmus Baraza (Jubilee Party) for putting aside their political differences after being involved in a feud during the just concluded Kibra parliamentary by-election.

Arati and Baraza were Tuesday seen at Parliament buildings exchanging pleasantries before proceeding to the chambers for the afternoon session where Arati briefly switched his sitting position and moved to the Majority side to sit side by side with Baraza.

Muturi urged other leaders who often get caught in disagreements over political positions to emulate the display of collegiality by the two lawmakers.

"They appear to be cordially engaging each other, that is as it should be and it is commendable," said Muturi.

The two lawmakers were at the center stage of counter accusations between politicians in the ODM and Jubilee Party who coalesced under two formations - one that declared ODM candidate Imran Okoth the handshake candidate and another allied to Deputy President William Ruto backing the governing party's candidate.

Baraza was nearly assaulted by ODM supporters under the watchful eye of Arati who was accused of inciting hired goons against the Kimilili MP.

Baraza lost his signature cap in an ensuing melee during the election day at DC grounds in Kibra.

The incident which was captured on camera and widely shared on social media platforms depicted Arati and Baraza having a brief conversation before rowdy youths charged and roughed up Baraza who was in the area giving support for Jubilee's candidate MacDonald Mariga.

The incident sparked wide condemnations from the ruling Jubilee Party, with a section of leaders demanding for Arati's immediate arrest for inciting the locals to attack Baraza.

The accusations played out in the open after Okoth was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with the Raila Odinga-led pointing a finger at Baraza accusing him of fueling the brawl.

For some ODM lawmakers like Suna East MP Junet Muhammed, the scuffle presented a hilarious moment with the leader at one point captured during the post Kibra rally donning the supposedly missing Baraza cap.

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