Kisii Governor James Ongwae, Simba Arati clash over head of campaigns team

Simba Arati

Kisii Governor James Ongwae (left) and Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati at a past function.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A fresh row has erupted in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in Kisii over the appointment of County Secretary Patrick Lumumba to head the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential campaigns team.

A team allied to ODM gubernatorial candidate Simba Arati has protested what they consider unilateral hand-picking of Mr Lumumba, saying he doesn’t enjoy political support in the county.

Mr Lumumba is a close ally of outgoing Governor James Ongwae, who said the appointment was made by party bosses in Nairobi “because he is apolitical”.

Executive powers

“He’s not associated with either Jubilee, ODM or any of the parties,” the governor said.

He dismissed as fake a document purportedly bearing his signature and which claimed that he used executive powers conferred on him to appoint Mr Lumumba as the presidential campaigns coordinator.

However, Mr Arati said a public servant cannot be appointed to coordinate partisan political activities. He added that no team has been constituted and that gubernatorial candidates from the region have agreed to meet next week to identify a suitable coordinator who enjoys wider political clout to coordinate campaign activities from the constituency to regional levels.

“I’m the ODM candidate. I’m yet to constitute the teams that will coordinate campaigns from the constituency to the county level,” Mr Arati said.

He revealed that he was holding discussions with Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo.

Impeccable integrity

The others are Homa Bay Woman rep and ODM gubernatorial candidate Gladys Wanga, Siaya Senator James Orengo, and others, to identify suitable candidates, who will coordinate the campaigns.

Mr Arati said the appointees must be people of impeccable integrity and have political clout right from the grassroots to the regional level.

They must also be appointed after wide consultations among key actors in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.

The differences between Mr Ongwae and Mr Arati have created a rift in the party with the latter’s allies accusing the governor of undermining the MP.

They have further accused Mr Ongwae’s social media team of targeting Mr Arati with highly defamatory articles and portraying Mr Arati in negative light.

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