Small parties in Gusiiland threaten ODM popularity

Sam Ongeri

Kisii County Senator Sam Ongeri (centre) with DAP-K party patron Eugene Wamalwa (second right), party leader Wafula Wamunyinyi  (left), deputy party leader Ayub Savula (right) and other officials when they welcomed him to the party on March 16, 2022 in Nairobi. Prof Ongeri decamped from ODM.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Orange party did not win any parliamentary seat in the region in the 2017 elections.
  • Fringe parties plan to field candidates in all positions except in the president race.

Small parties in Gusiiland under the Azimio la Umoja Movement are eating into ODM’s popularity, weakening the outfit in the region.

Many aspirants, especially from Kisii County, opted to join the small parties following infighting in ODM between two camps; one loyal to Kisii Governor James Ongwae and another led by Dagoretti North MP and governorship aspirant Simba Arati.

As wrangles engulf ODM, which has in the last two elections produced top county leaders, the small parties are angling to pick the spoils as the August polls draw closer.

The newly created United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K, Kenya National Congress (KNC) and Kenya Social Congress (KSC) are the parties giving ODM a headache.

Already, Nyamira Deputy Governor James Gesami, who was a strong pillar in ODM, has joined his boss, Governor Amos Nyaribo, in UPA.

“We shall work together to ensure that we put the interests of the people of Nyamira County ahead. We shall serve diligently from the UPA party,” said Mr Nyaribo as he welcomed Dr Gesami to UPA last week.

The governor is the party leader and has been popularising it after signing an agreement with Azimio.

UPA director of elections Josiah Achoki said that they intend to make it the party of choice for candidates vying for various seats in counties across the country and particularly Kisii and Nyamira.

DAP-K unveiled Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri as its Kisii gubernatorial candidate last week after he defected from ODM. 

Prof Ongeri told the Nation that he had decided to ditch ODM because he was uncomfortable with the on-goings in the party. 

He said instead of spending his time, energy and resources fighting with some leaders, he has chosen to engage people directly by hunting for votes. 

“I will also focus on hunting for votes for my presidential candidate Raila Odinga who will be vying on an Azimio ticket and not ODM,” said Prof Ongeri.

Former South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamwey, who is leading KNC, last week said he is working hard to popularise the party. A number of defectors from ODM and the United Democratic Alliance have joined the party.

In 2017, small parties reaped big in Kisii, dealing a blow to Jubilee and ODM parties.

KNC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were the greatest beneficiaries in the parliamentary races.

The two parties each garnered two parliamentary seats, while the National Agenda Party of Kenya (NAPK) won one.

Jubilee Party got two seats while ODM got none. It is after the recent Bonchari by-election that ODM got its only parliamentary seat in Gusii.

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