Former Busia governor Sospeter Ojaamong ditches Raila for Ruto

Former Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong. He has ditched Raila Odinga's ODM to join President Ruto's Kenya Kwanza.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto's net caught a big fish in the lakeside county of Busia on Sunday after former Governor Sospeter Ojaamong ditched Raila Odinga's ODM to join Dr Ruto's Kenya Kwanza.

Mr Ojaamong, a long-time close ally of Mr Odinga, announced during an interdenominational prayer service at Machakusi Primary School attended by Dr Ruto that he had finally decided to join the President's side after years of loyalty to Mr Odinga and the ODM party of which he was a life member.

The former county boss, who served as an ODM MP for the defunct Amagoro constituency between 2007 and 2013, declared that he was now a foot soldier for President Ruto and promised to help him wrest the border county's support from Mr Odinga's grip and drive the government's agenda in the region.

"From today, I am your foot soldier in Busia and I want to work with Ababu Namwamba and other Kenya Kwanza leaders to bring Busia to the side of the government. Busia is shifting its political allegiance and with me on this bandwagon, nothing will be impossible," said Mr Ojaamong.

He contested the Teso South parliamentary seat in the August 2022 elections but lost to UDA's Mary Emaase.

Mr Ojaamong praised his successor Paul Otuoma for deciding to work with President Ruto's administration, saying the best way to develop the region was to support the government.

His defection was praised by several Kenya Kwanza leaders who attended the service, including Western Caucus chairman John Waluke and Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba.

Mr Namwamba said Mr Ojaamong's decision to join the government was the best for leaders in a region grappling with the challenge of disunity.

"Mr Ojaamong has taken a bold step and we ask him to feel at home. We will help you to feel comfortable in this big house," said Mr Namwamba.

Mr Waluke said leaders from Western Kenya were already sending a strong message about the 2027 elections.

"We don't want to remain a divided house every time we approach elections. This time we want to show the world that we are all united as we approach the next elections. With brother Ojaamong on our side, we will now move on to the next goal so that we don't remain a laughing stock," he said.

Mr Ojaamong announced his resignation from the Odinga-led party earlier this week, citing ideological differences.

He said his decision to quit the Orange Party was based on the fact that his continued membership of the outfit, was no longer tenable due to a clash of ideological beliefs, community interests, associations and aspirations.

"The fact that my political beliefs no longer converge or represent a common denominator with that of the ODM party, its values and political practices, there is no interest between me and that party," reads part of his resignation letter.

President Ruto has declared war on corruption, past and present.

Mr Ojaamong has been on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission since 2018.

In the 2022 General Election, he was one of the 241 candidates the EACC asked to be disqualified from contesting a seat on integrity grounds.

Busia leaders appealed to President Ruto to create a slot for Mr Ojaamong in his government after he joined Kenya Kwanza.

Mr Namwamba, Ms Emase, Mr Otuoma and Mr Waluke asked the President to consider Mr Ojaamong for an ambassadorial post or Principal Secretary.