Former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale has hit back at Ida Odinga after she asked Mariga to stick to football and build his name.
Former Harambee Stars player McDonald Mariga suffered a blow earlier this week when the IEBC invalidated his nomination to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat slated for November 7.
Speaking during the opening of an educational block at Wandiege Primary School in Kisumu on Wednesday, Ida said that Mariga will ‘fail’ in politics and advised him to stick to football.
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“Think of Mariga, I cannot use that as a good example because when he changed profession (from football to politics) you see he’s failed,” Ida said.
She added: “If he would have stick to football he would do much better.”
In response, Khalwale in a tweet on Thursday said that the wife of ODM leader Raila Odinga was casting aspersions for fear of Mariga candidature.
He noted that some football stars in Africa had successfully vied for political seats, a good example being Liberia President George Weah.
“Mariga has sent the fear of the Lord in the ODM! None other than the respected Ida Odinga has today advised that as a footballer Mariga will fail politically, Mama, celebrated footballer, President George Weah of Liberia, has succeeded where many Kenyan presidential wannabes didn’t,” reads the tweet.
IEBC returning officer Beatrice Muli on Friday explained that the electoral body was transparent citing that Mariga’s documents were received by the electoral body on Tuesday and handled through the same process as other candidates.
“We received Mariga document on September 10 and Mariga went through the nomination process the same way other candidates did. We have a checklist which we use to clear candidates,” she said.
Muli said the pertinent documents were first submitted to verification desk and forwarded to her.
She said IEBC nomination checklist requires aspirant be a registered voter.
Muli insisted that the only way the returning officer can verify if the aspirant is a registered voter is checking the register in the KIEMS.
She said however in Mariga’s case, upon presenting his ID cards, the Jubilee aspirant’s details could not be found in the KIEMS.