ODM: Migori primaries only for woman rep, Suna West and ward seats

Raila Odinga and Ochillo Ayacko

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) and Migori MP Ochilo Ayacko in Giribe, Suna West in Migori on December 27, 2021.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

The Orange Democratic Movement party will conduct nominations only for the woman representative, Suna West constituency and ward seats in Migori on Monday.

The announcement by party chairman John Mbadi seals the fate of aspirants for governor, senator and the remaining five constituencies, where the party has issued direct tickets.

Mr Mbadi said two key seats will be subjected to universal suffrage.

“In Migori, information at my disposal is that woman representative aspirants will go through universal suffrage,” he said.

“The same will happen in Suna West, because opinion polls conducted indicate that there is a narrow margin between Mr Peter Masara, the incumbent, and his main challenger, Mr Joseph Ndiege.”

But Mr Mbadi noted that talks were underway for consensus between Dr Ayacko and Migori Woman Representative Pamella Odhiambo “to arbitrate before the final decision is arrived at”.

“The three opinion polls we conducted indicated that Mr Ayacko has an upper hand and we are considering giving him the ticket. We know there has been stiff competition between them,” he said.

Dr Ayacko was facing four other aspirants for the ODM ticket and getting a direct nomination would seal his fate.

He has long been perceived as the front-runner in the race to succeed Governor Okoth Obado, with his opponents accusing the Raila Odinga-led party of favouring his candidacy.

But Dr Odhiambo has downplayed Mr Mbadi’s sentiments as “mere theatrics meant to confuse the voters who are keen on deciding their leaders next Monday”.

“Our resolution from the last meeting was that there are nominations for all seats in Migori County on April 18. Mr Mbadi is only testing the ground and this will end up causing confusion and discontent in the party,” she said.

Direct tickets

It also emerged that Mr Eddy Okech, a Senate aspirant, and five other legislators had also been handed direct tickets ahead of the August polls.

Mr Mbadi said MPs Paul Abuor (Rongo), Walter Owino (Awendo), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Junet Mohamed (Suna East) and Tom Odege (Nyatike) were given ODM tickets after their opponents switched to other parties and others decided to vie as independent candidates.

Mr Joseph Amenya, a member of ODM National Elections Board (NEB), and Migori ODM chair Philip Makabongo called on aspirants for other seats to build consensus and back one of themselves ahead of the polls.

“It is unfortunate that several aspirants have been attacking the party over nominations and issuing statements against Mr Odinga’s presidency through their supporters. Let them maintain peace because the buck stops with the party’s NEB,” he said after meeting aspirants on Wednesday.


The two called on party officials to be neutral during primaries and leaders to respect rivals so as to ensure a peaceful process.

On Thursday, last week attempts by the party to issue direct tickets to several aspirants who were ahead in an opinion poll failed, with the latter calling for universal suffrage.

Boardroom negotiations between aspirants and party officials have failed three consecutive times, with the party fearing a backlash in the cosmopolitan county.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) of Deputy President William Ruto still enjoys massive support in Kuria East and Kuria West constituencies, which account for 25 per cent of about 400,000 votes in the county.

Mr Dansam Ouma, a political scientist, said ODM’s decision to hand direct tickets to some aspirants in the county may result in protest votes, creating the risk that the seats will go to other parties.

“ODM may hand a direct ticket for governor and still have to campaign vigorously in the county. To avoid any (disputes) the process has to be seen as free and fair,” he said.

While Dr Ayacko and Dr Odhiambo are tussling over the ODM governor’s ticket, he said, former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Migori MP John Pesa already have the Jubilee and DAP-K tickets, respectively.

“The same goes for the woman representative seat, where Lillian Akugo already received the Jubilee ticket. The ODM party’s move to issue direct tickets will not augur well in Migori,” Mr Ouma said.

Ahead of the ODM nominations, Migori politicians had feared that they would be bungled, and some decamped to other parties to avoid headaches.