Langata constituency is an upper and middle-class constituency with one slum. It used to be the bigger constituency which also had Kibra and parts of Dagoretti North before the latter was hived off.
Karen Ward, which essentially is Karen suburb and its servant quarters, is Langata’s upper-class concern while Mugomoini, hived off Kibera slums, houses the constituency’s destitutes. The rest of the wards are what constitutes Langata’s middle-class identity.
It is this constituency that has attracted radio host and comedian Felix Odiwuor, aka Jalang’o, and Nairobi County Director of Health Dr. Ouma Oluga. A few other inconsequentials are in the race too, all seeking to unseat incumbent Nixon Korir.
Nixon Korir’s election as Langata MP was marred by electoral malfeasance. He knows that he is a “kifaranga cha kompyuta”, the sobriquet given to those seats that were rigged alongside the 2017 presidential vote-rigging to give Jubilee national legitimation.
Korir also won because NASA self-cannibalized, with ODM and Wiper Party having fielded candidates, dividing the votes. Still, with under a thousand votes, Korir’s victory was very thin despite the ubiquitous staffing of the electoral management machinery of the constituency with his handpicked cronies and tribesmen; from the returning officer, elections logistics officer, several presiding officers, and vote clerks.
Korir won because he had the rigging machinery. He had the rigging machinery because he was part of the government seeking a second term. He was also well monied, having plundered the state while working at the Office of the Deputy President.
In August, Korir will be facing an election with a changed political demographic. He is not running as the government’s candidate. The Jubilee coalition which shored up his votes has collapsed. He will be depending entirely on his five year record and the popularity of UDA Party.
He may find luck in divided Azimio affiliate parties fielding many candidates. He is said to be funding some of those running on Azimio affiliated tickets.
Korir will also be banking on ODM’s penchant for dishing tickets to weak candidates with connections to Raila or the Odinga family. There are murmurs of Odinga family members vying in the constituency on the false assumption that it is “Baba’s sitting room”. So far, Jaoko Oburu, son to Raila’s brother Oburu Odinga, has shown interest. Winnie Odinga, Raila’s daughter, is also believed to be eying the seat.
As the race stands now, however, it is Jalang’o and Dr. Ouma Oluga who have made significant moves in the constituency. Jalang’o, a household name in Kenya, will be making his maiden stab in an election witnessing a record number of journalists and entertainment industry folks switching to elective politics.
Dr. Ouma Oluga, a unionist and currently serving under Lt. Gen. Badi Ali’s Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) has the most enviable credential in the race, but which counts for little in politics.
Whichever mheshimiwa Langata eventually picks in August, one hopes he/she will still be better than Joash Odhiambo Olum, who wasted everyone’s five years, between 2013 and 2017.