Governor Obado’s wife now wants to be the next Migori woman rep

Hellen Obado

Ms Hellen Obado who is eyeing the Migori Woman Rep seat in the August 9 polls. 

Photo credit: Ian Byron | Nation Media Group

Mrs Hellen Obado, wife of Migori Governor Okoth Obado, has declared her bid for the county’s woman representative seat.

But perhaps keen to avoid her husband’s baggage, as he is accused of killing his former girlfriend Sharon Otieno and faces corruption cases, she will not be gunning for the seat on People’s Democratic Party (PDP) party that he leads.

She is vying as an independent candidate.

The announcement ends speculation about the fate of the county’s first family, which has been marked by a series of controversies and court cases.

There was talk earlier on social media about her candidacy before she sought to clear the air on the bid.

“It is true I am firmly in the race to be the third woman representative. As we are all aware, this is a public seat where anyone is free to vie. It is the public and voters who decide through the ballot and I will seek their mandate,” she told the Nation by phone.

Shun PDP

“I am yet to pick my symbol for the ballot, but I have started the process of being cleared by the electoral body for the August 9 contest.”

Her decision to shun the PDP also ends the political debate on the direction the governor’s family will take once he steps down after serving his two terms.

The governor and his wife have held joint campaigns since 2007, when Mr Obado unsuccessfully vied for the Uriri parliamentary seat.

She also campaigned for Mr Obado in the defunct Kenya Sugar Board elections by mobilising sugarcane farmers, a seat he won in a landslide.

She was key in voter and grassroots mobilisation for her husband’s bids for governor and often led separate and parallel campaigns targeting women.

As the Migori first lady, she started Kuku ni Pesa, a project that gave chicken incubators to several women’s groups and distributed sanitary towels, toiletries and solar lamps to women on the campaign trail.

Her entry into the woman representative’s race also ends the debate on whether Mr Obado was plotting to join the race for the Senate or Uriri MP’s seat.

Perhaps one of the biggest casualties of Mrs Obado’s move is Mrs Lillian Akugo, who is eyeing the same seat on a Jubilee Party ticket. She is the wife of Governor Obado’s Director of Administration Dominic Akugo.

They both hail from the Kanyamkago clan in Uriri and their political antagonism may split the local vote.

Constitutional right

“It’s everyone’s constitutional right to go for any political seat he or she deems fit but Lillian and Helen will never be on the same ballot,” Mr Akugo said in a social media post, hinting that she could step down and support her.

Mrs Obado is set to face off with Ms Dennitah Ghati, who won the ODM ticket in the primaries, former radio journalist Josephine Sirega and businesswoman Fatuma Mohammed, who will both be vying as independent candidates.

Mrs Sirega has maintained that her predecessors failed to uplift the lives of voters.

“My predecessors have been talking of empowerment yet the people do not feel the impact on the ground. Being on radio for some time, I understand the plight of the marginalised and this is what [drove me to join] the race,” she said.”

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