The race for the Homa Bay gubernatorial race took a twist Thursday after seven hopefuls dropped their bid in favour of Woman Representative Gladys Wanga.
Ms Wanga, who has named former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga as her running mate, was handed the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) certificate to carry its flag in the August General Election.
In a consultative meeting chaired by ODM leader Raila Odinga, the party said seven other aspirants had agreed to drop their bids in favour of Ms Wanga.
The aspirants were reportedly promised job opportunities in the county and national governments.
“The aspirants have had extensive consultations and they invited us as party officials. They have agreed to support Gladys Wanga after reaching a consensus. They have a responsibility to go out and campaign to retain the seat for ODM,” Mr Odinga said.
Ms Wanga thanked her competitors for agreeing to support her candidature and promised victory for the party.
“I'm thankful to the party leader for bringing us together and I thank my colleagues for agreeing to work with me so that we can deliver services to Homa Bay residents. I know that we are leaving here with a unity of purpose and we will deliver votes for Raila Odinga and the Homa Bay governorship race,” she said.
The Homa Bay gubernatorial race had attracted different contenders like ODM Chairman John Mbadi, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Mr Magwanga, former Homa Bay county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, among others.
Mr Mbadi had stepped down this week and indicated he will focus on his role as an ODM leader and support the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s presidential campaigns.
The endorsement of Ms Wanga, however, caught some of the other aspirants who were eyeing the ODM ticket off-guard.
The news of the endorsement were received well by the Homa Bay residents who also expressed gratitude to the party leader for striking a deal among the different aspirants.
Dr Kidero quickly reacted to the news and insisted he will be on the ballot on August 9.
“I was not invited to the meeting where Wanga was endorsed and at no time was I ever involved in this process. My understanding of consensus is when everybody is involved and there is no dissents which was not the case,” Dr Kidero told the Nation.
He went on: “As it appears, the endorsement of Wanga basically closes the door for me despite having submitted my papers and paid nomination fees (Sh500,000).
“Given the fact that the door has been closed for any competitive representation within ODM in Homa Bay County, I will be reconsidering various options so that I’m able to continue with the walk to represent the Homa Bay people as their governor,” Dr Kidero said.
The people of Homa Bay, he said, have a right to elect a governor of their choice, “who is capable, competent and able to deliver on their aspirations”.
“I’d like to assure that I’ll be on the ballot as a candidate for Homa Bay governor’s seat on the 9th of August,” Dr Kidero said.
No party hopping
Since the deadline for party hopping was shut on March 26, Dr Kidero will only have an opportunity to seek for the election as an independent candidate.
He said: “I’m not in agreement with Wanga’s endorsement because Homa Bay people should be given the opportunity to choose a leader of their choice.”
When asked whether he would pursue the nomination fees he paid to ODM, Dr Kidero said: “Nomination fee of Sh500,000 is nothing compared to killing the dreams, desires and rights of the people of Homa Bay.”