Former East African Community chief administrative secretary Ken Obura has ruled out any consensus with the incumbent Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o for the county’s top seat.
He accused Prof Nyong’o of earlier turning down an offer to agree on a single candidate to fly the Orange party’s flag ahead of the August 9 General Election.
“Out of the five people who expressed interest in vying for the Kisumu governor’s position, it is only Prof Nyong’o who declined on an initiative to agree on a common candidate that could have avoided a competitive nomination exercise,” he said.
Mr Obura pointed out that former governor Jack Ranguma, Senator Fred Outa and former Speaker Onyango Oloo shelved their ambitions to support his candidacy.
“Consensus is one of the many ways within which the party agrees to pick a candidate. We have covered a lot of ground on this matter and now we are ready for the nomination scheduled to take place on April 19,” he said.
He challenged Governor Nyong’o to follow the footsteps of ODM chairman John Mbadi, who withdrew from the Homa Bay governor’s race to concentrate on helping the Azimio presidential campaigns and the nationwide ODM bid to secure as many seats as possible.
“Prof Nyong’o cannot win any race when we get to the ballot. He will hardly get 20 per cent owing to his poor development record for the five years that he has been at the helm of the county leadership,” he added.
The governor’s contest promises to be a two-horse race as party supporters are expected to pick between the two candidates.
His sentiments came a day after Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili called on the ODM National Elections Board to consider issuing Prof Nyong’o a direct ticket to save resources for Mr Odinga’s presidential campaigns.
“We should not conduct party primaries to please an individual at the expense of the bigger goal of ensuring Mr Odinga’s victory,” he said on Wednesday.
Citing an opinion poll result, Dr Owili argued that there is every indication that Governor Nyong’o will triumph over his sole competitor.
“The latest poll indicates that Governor Nyong’o garnered 90 per cent against 5 per cent (for) his sole challenger,” he said.
He called on Mr Odinga’s supporters to rally behind his fifth presidential bid.
Over 200 churches in Kisumu have also waded into the ‘direct tickets’ debate, calling on the party’s National Elections Board to be impartial and ensure the impending nominations are credible in order to avert disputes.
Their remarks came following concerns that some leaders had been given direct certificates in areas where the seats were contested.
Speaking in Kisumu, where they were hosted by the Kisumu County Azimio la Umoja presidential campaign secretariat, the clerics said any mishandling of the primaries may plunge the region into anarchy and voter apathy.
“Our advice to the ODM elections board is that everyone be treated equally and direct tickets to be given only in areas where the party is not famous,” said Bishop Julius Otieno of the Living Water Church.
“But in the strongholds, a competitive process should be carried out to avert a falling-out and make losers (accept the results).”
Bishop Ogonyo Ngede, the chairman of Nyanza Council of Church Leaders, said they will play the role of an arbiter if there is dissatisfaction among those who lose in the primaries.
“We will reconcile winners and losers and urge them to work together for the bigger picture, which is the presidency,” said Bishop Ngede.
He added: “If you are not successful in the nomination, do not prevent those who you ferried from participating in the General Election.”
Mr Abdul Dubai Omar, the chairperson of the secretariat, said they and the church will move round the county to rally the region behind Mr Odinga.
“We want to ensure we get maximum voter turnout in the next General Election so that Raila becomes the next President of Kenya,” Mr Omar said.
The clerics said an interdenominational prayer for peace will be held on May 22 in Kisumu that Mr Odinga and the President are expected to attend.