The entry of radio clown Felix Odiwuor aka Jalang’o in the Lang’ata parliamentary race 2022 has complicated the matrix for
incumbent MP Nixon Korir of Jubilee Party who is planning to seek re-election. Jalango who announced his ambition for the seat recently, is expected to seek the Orange Democratic Movement ticket. Jalang’o is counting on the support of Raila Odinga to secure the seat. Initially word was, Raila was pushing to have Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny to shift his political base to Nairobi city politics to tame William Ruto influence in the constituency by pitting a Kalenjin Korir on UDA and Kuttuny on ODM and have his Luo influence favour Kuttuny to carry the day. Although the area has Kalenjins as registered voters, they cannot match Luos, Kikuyus, Luhyas and Kambas.
On the other hand, Korir, a close ally of Ruto, is expected to easily secure the UDA ticket. UDA is the vehicle the deputy president plans to use to seek the presidency in the 2022 general elections. The seat is of great significance to both Ruto and Raila for various reasons. The youthful Korir defied all odds when he won the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket in the 2017. Curiously, the seat had been held by Raila, for a record 20 years before being occupied by ODM’s Joash Olum in 2013. Korir who had served as the executive director of the defunct United Republican Party secretariat in the 2013 general elections contested for the seat on URP ticket where he garnered 17,740 votes after Olum who had 25,394 votes. Olum had beaten Raila’s son Fidel in the ODM primaries something that signaled that Raila did not have grip of the new constituency hived off the larger Lang’ata constituency that was split to form Kibra and Lang’ata.
In the 2017 general election, Korir was considered an outsider who did not stand a chance of winning a political seat in an area that had been dominated by the opposition for decades. His opponents for the seat referred to him as a project of the deputy president, a man considered the greatest political enemy of Raila. Raila first won the seat in 1992 on a Ford Kenya party ticket. He
retained it in a by-election in 1996 after he defected from Ford Kenya to form NDP and won again in the 1997 general election. He won the seat again in 2002 elections on Liberal Democratic Party ticket, which was then a member of the National Rainbow Coalition. In 2007, Raila retained the seat through ODM party. In 2013, the new constitution barred him from contesting for the seat, as he was a presidential candidate. But Korir, popularly known as Generali in the constituency, fueled by the impressive results in the 2013 general elections decided to vie again in 2017 polls.
Pundits say the splitting of Lang’ata and Kibera played in Korir’s favour as most of the electorate and Raila’s support base came from Kibera. This left ODM vulnerable. Another game in favour of Korir was the Kikuyu vote in the constituency that favoured a Jubilee man. By winning the seat, Korir became the only Kalenjin MP in Nairobi. Ruto is now keen to repeat the fete by having Korir win the seat in the 2022. On the other hand, Raila will be keen to have ODM win the seat he previously occupied. Lang’ata is a predominantly middle-class and also boasts upper class Karen. The suburb consists of many smaller housing developments, referred to as estates. They include Nairobi Dam, Otiende, Southlands, Ngei, Jambo, Onyonka, Madaraka, Kutch Prant, Rubia, NHC Langata, Akiba, Sun Valley, Royal Park and many others. These developments are primarily maisonettes or apartment blocks. Lang’ata constituency is divided into five wards: Karen, Nairobi West, Mugumoini, South C and Nyayo Highrise.
After winning the seat, Korir had to fight the battle to retain it in courts. The battle went all the way to the Court of Appeal which upheld his win, saying the petition by his opponent lacked merit. The petition had been filed by Oscar Omoke. The court ruled the petitioner failed to provide enough evidence to warrant the nullification of the whole poll. Those counting on the Luo vote will however be disappointed because Langata and Kibra no longer have as many Luo voters as they used to have in the Raila era when Luos would come from as far as Migori and Homabay to register as voters in Kibera so as to ensure Raila won. At the time, Raila would tell them that there was danger of him winning the presidency but losing the MP seat which would make his presidential win null because one had to be MP before being president.