ODM falls with a thud in South Gem ward

Brian Anyango

Brian Anyango, the independent candidate who outsmarted ODM in South Gem ward.

Photo credit: Kassim Adinasi | Nation Media Group

Independent candidate Brian Obiero Anyango is the MCA-elect for South Gem Ward in the hotly contested by-election held on December 8.

The election was marred with violence; five people are still recuperating at Bondo sub-county hospital after two rival groups clashed at Kambare Primary School polling station.

The rowdy youths also stoned seven vehicles and temporarily stopped the voting exercise at Kambare polling station.

Mr Anyango, who contested the seat as an independent candidate, garnered 3,469 votes against Mr Wanga’s 3,353 votes, propelling him to secure a five-year term at the Siaya County Assembly.

While addressing electorates who thronged the Aluor Primary school where the ward tallying centre was established, Mr Anyango called on the opponents and the county government of Siaya to work together with him.

“I will be the MCA for all, those who voted for me and those who did not. To my worthy opponents, politics is over, let’s work together. I also appeal to the governor. I know I was not his candidate but because the people have decided to let's work for our people,” he said. 

He joins three other MCAs who beat all odds in the August polls to secure chances at the county Assembly through different tickets other than ODM.

The MCAs for West Yimbo, North Gem, and East Asembo wards were elected on independent, Federal Party of Kenya (FPK) and United Democratic Movement (UDM) party tickets, respectively.

The Orange party had anticipated getting the South Gem seat to add to the current 26 MCAs that it has.

The election in South Gem was postponed after the death of the ODM candidate, Nick Wanga. 

Siaya Governor James Orengo and his Deputy Mr William Oduol camped in the region in a bid to sway voters to vote in the favor of the Orange party candidate.

Despite IEBC clearing nine candidates, the race narrowed to a two-horse contest between the Orange’s candidate, Mr Wanga and Mr Anyango.

The incumbent Mr David Audi shelved his ambitions to support Mr Anyango after his party, UDM shifted allegiance to the Kenya Kwanza coalition immediately after Dr William Ruto was declared the president-elect, slimming his chances of retaining his seat in an area believed to be supporting Mr Odinga.

The second runners-up in the ODM party primaries held on April 13, Mr Geoffrey Goganyo also ditched the party and threw support behind Mr Anyango.

Initially, Mr Goganyo expected to be issued with the Orange ticket after the death of Mr Wanga weeks before the August 9 polls; the ODM officials instead awarded the ticket to the brother of the late, Mr Polycarp Wanga.

The decision by the Orange party to issue a direct ticket attracted some resistance from a section of the residents who believed that the first runners-up, Mr Goganyo, in the party primaries ought to have been the flag bearer.

The electorate accused the party grassroots officials of imposing an unpopular candidate on them.

“We shall not allow some unscrupulous party officials to subvert the will of the people of South Gem. We know there are some officials who want to use money to shortchange the most popular candidate for another candidate who is not known by the people,” complained Mr Nelson Ogutu.