Revealed: Esther Passaris to Vie in Embakasi
It is emerging that scores of politicians are chasing the ODM party ticket for the forthcoming by elections, with some constituencies like Emuhaya, Embakasi, Ainamoi, Kamukunji attracting up to 50 aspirants. Other constituencies due for by-elections are Wajir North and Kilgoris. All signs are that the ODM hierarchy is taking the forthcoming by elections very seriously, an indication that the party has its eyes set on controlling the legislative agenda as well as positioning itself for the next general elections which could come earlier than the year 2012.
Curiously though, despite the National Assembly Speaker having issued gazette notices earlier this month declaring Emuhaya, Embakasi and Ainanoi seats vacant, the disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya has not announced the time-table for the by-elections, something it is mandated to do within fourteen days of such gazettements. Similarly, the country remains in the dark about the other three constituencies which never got MPs following the disputed general elections in December. This is a great injustice to those citizens who lack representation in parliament.
Even as we wait for ECK to announce the by-elections timetable, for the next six months, the ECK itself will be placed under the microscope when the Independent Review Commission probing the 2007 elections will get down to investigating the disputed December 2007 election results including the role played by the ECK, political parties, the media, faith based organizations and the civil society. The ECK has already contracted a lawyer as it is due to appear as a witness(es) at the commission. But does this mean that unrepresented constituencies have to wait until the ECK is sorted out?
Currently only existing on paper, Kibaki’s PNU and Kalonzo’s ODM-K which were leading political parties only a few months ago have turned out were only created to be used as miserable campaign vehicles with no intentions of ever fulfilling their glossy party manifestos. On the other hand, the ODM has kept its secretariat active with permanent staff and the party Secretary General, Ayang Nyongo busy networking in local and overseas travels. In contrast, its rivals are now a pale shadow of ‘vibrant’ parties they once professed to be having witnessed bitter fall-outs and complete shut-down of their own campaign secretariats. Whatever happened to the once all powerful Maanzos, Ojiambos, Kituyis and Tujus?
In Embakasi constituency, long wrongly assumed to be hostile grounds to ODM candidates, this blogger can authoritatively reveal, the ODM front runner for the Embakasi seat is none other than Esther Muthoni Passaris - the founder of Adopt-A-Light. With her pentagon friends behind her, it looks likely that she will bag the ODM ticket.
After she was deliberately omitted under dubious grounds as an ODM nominated councilor by the then Local Government Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Passaris is now set to make a debut in parliamentary politics and not civic politics that she was unfairly denied in the first place. Uhuru Kenyatta and his well known godfathers will have to go back to the drawing board. Observers doubt if the PNU/ODM-K coalition can come up with a more acceptable candidate to face and beat Passaris in an isolated by-election with the ODM brigade behind her. Not only has Passaris been a frequent visitor at the Pentagon House, she hardly misses at any social function organized by ODM Captain Raila Odinga. Last Thursday, the flamboyant Passaris was present at the Prime Minister’s dinner at hotel Inter-Continental Nairobi in a function attended by who-is-who in Kenya’s political and business circles.
Last year ODM collected billions of shillings in nomination fees, donations and sponsorship. The party was charging Kshs. 100,000/- for its parliamentary ticket, plus 20,000/- in party membership cards. It was reported that Passaris was among donors who made hefty donations into the ODM campaign kitty and provided millions of shillings worth of advertising space to the party. Not bad for someone who was originally a Kibaki supporter. It looks like the ODM strategy in Embakasi is to divide the massive GEMA vote while consolidating the youth and women’s vote in this large constituency.