The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on Tuesday withdrew from the Wajir West by-election scheduled for April 25, citing Jubilee Party’s pullout from the Ugenya and Embakasi South votes that took place last week.
The party led by Raila Odinga, through Director of Elections Junet Mohamed (Suna East), also noted that the decision followed “high level party consultations”.
“The party arrived at this decision following consultations with the top leadership of Jubilee Party, during which we agreed to reciprocate Jubilee’s earlier decision to withdraw from the Migori, Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections,” Mr Mohamed said in a statement.
“Just as Jubilee did in the three recent by-elections, ODM will not take sides in the contest in Wajir West. We wish victory to the best candidate.”
ODM had named Mohamed Yusuf as the candidate who would face politicians including Jubilee’s Mohamed Kolosh.
Mr Kolosh will now face Kanu’s Ibrahim Sheikh and Ford-Kenya’s Daud Mohammed Ali.
The seat fell vacant following a successful petition by Sheikh against Mr Kolosh’s August 8, 2017 poll victory.
Delivering their verdict on January 18, Chief Justice David Maraga, Justices Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Jackton Ojwang, Njoki Ndung’u and Isaac Lenaola agreed that votes were manipulated to favour Mr Kolosh.
The orange party suffered unexpected losses in Ugenya and Embakasi south, which led Mr Mohamed and Director of Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi to say that its strategies would be reviewed.
Christopher Karani (Ugenya) and Irshad Sumra (Embakasi South) lost to David Ochieng (Movement for Democracy and Growth) and Julius Mawathe (Wiper Democratic Movement).
Mr Wandayi said the party was unshaken by the losses but admitted that changes needed to be made to prevent such outcomes in the future.
Political pundits were of the view that the outcomes of the polls were an indicator of an emerging politically mature electorate and what to expect in future elections.
Both elections were peaceful and voters exercised sobriety and tolerance even after the results were announced.
Mr Odinga downplayed the loss, asking “what’s the big deal” and describing it as a “drop in the ocean”.
Equally defiant was the party’s Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, who told affiliates of the National Super Alliance to brace themselves for more political fights.
“Wiper has won this one but they can rest assured we will have more battles in future,” Mr Sifuna said of the Embakasi by-election.