Ms Hellen Odie, wife of outgoing Migori governor Okoth Obado, has claimed that her husband has left her to campaign on her own though she had stood with him for the past two terms.
Ms Odie, who has dropped the name Obado from her campaign posters, claimed the second-term governor abandoned her after she declared her bid for the Migori woman representative’s seat.
She spoke on Thursday at several rallies that culminated in the launch of her bid at Sibuoche trading centre in West Kanyamkago in her Uriri constituency backyard.
“Please, my people, help me secure this seat. You all know how much I helped Obado to become the first Migori governor. Sadly, he has left me on my own, he doesn’t want to stand with me,” she said in Amoso village after commissioning a water project.
“Mama County”, as she is fondly referred to, recently distanced herself from Mr Obado’s support for Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto and instead drummed up support for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition flag-bearer Raila Odinga.
Addressing reporters after she was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as an independent candidate in the August 9 polls, she maintained that she only had one vote, which is firmly secured for Mr Odinga.
On the campaign trail
That announcement came though Mr Obado is actively campaigning for Dr Ruto in Nyanza after he was named the region’s coordinator.
“Mr Odinga is vying for President while I’m seeking the woman representative position, but he has my vote in the ballot. That bit I know,” she said then.
She noted that she would have wished to fully campaign for Mr Odinga but she is unable to provide that support on the campaign trail because she is an independent candidate who has to work harder to sell her sweet potato agenda (sweet potatoes are her campaign symbol).
Her stance is a far cry from her husband, who has used every opportunity at public and social functions to antagonise Mr Odinga and the Azimio coalition.
She insisted she should not be associated with her husband, urging voters to consider what she can do for them.
This, she said, was the reason her campaign materials bear the name Helen Adhiambo Odie and not Hellen Obado.
To shed the “Obado” tag in her campaigns, she shunned her husband’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and chose to run as an independent candidate.
She even dropped the name Obado and packaged her campaign materials with her father’s name, Odie.
Mr Obado’s legacy in his two terms, including being charged in court for corruption and murder (he has denied the charges) has caused mixed reactions to his wife’s campaigns.
Mrs Obado will face off with nominated MP Denittah Ghati (ODM), businesswoman Fatuma Mohammed (independent) and former radio journalists Josephine Sirega (independent) and Lillian Akugo (Jubilee).