Status quo remains as Siaya incumbents win tickets in ODM primaries

James Orengo

Siaya Senator James Orengo addresses mourners in Gem, Siaya County on February 5, 2022. 

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Four sitting legislators from Siaya County, who were forced to take part in the Orange Democratic Movement party primaries, have successfully clinched tickets to defend their seats in the August 9 polls.

The leaders, who were subjected to nominations through universal suffrage after consensus failed, were Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka, MPs Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga) and Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), and Dr Gideon Ochanda of Bondo. They all beat their competitors to clinch the coveted Orange tickets.

Ms Ombaka garnered 27,521 votes ahead of her main challenger Pamela Akelo, who won 20,513, while former Miss Siaya Dorothy Oinga came third with 11,996.

Speaking when she accepted the nomination certificate, Ms Ombaka expressed her gratitude for getting a chance to fly the ODM ticket for the third time in her political career.

She made her political debut in 2013 after resigning her lecturer job at Maseno University.

"It feels good to learn that (voters) from Siaya have given me the third chance to serve them as the county member of Parliament. I don't take it for granted,” she said.

“The seat of woman representative is an affirmative action seat and I shall endeavour to support women, youths and those with disability as we I have always done.”

She added: "The big victory that all of us wait for is that of Raila Odinga in August, let us not forget. We shall strive to make it come to pass."

In Alego Usonga, Mr Atandi proved his worth by trouncing former university don Dr Nicholas Ochogo, getting 17,789 votes against the latter’s 3,350 from the six wards in the constituency.

Nominated MP Jackline Oduol was a distant third with 542 votes.

Mr Atandi called on the party to embrace universal suffrage as a democratic way of ensuring people choose the right leaders for elective posts.

"I urge all the aspirants not to fear nominations and I want to thank the party for such a credible and transparent exercise. Through such transparent processes, many people will join our party and it will grow because voting is very simple," he said.

Jakoyo's brother lost

It was a similar situation in Gem, where Dr Jalang'o Midiwo, a brother of the late Jakoyo Midiwo, the former MP, lost narrowly to Mr Odhiambo, receiving 6,384 votes against the incumbent’s 7,405.

"The process was free and fair for all. I believe from here we shall embark on a mission to strengthen our party and offer services to our people. I thank the people for trusting me for the second time," Mr Odhiambo said.

The melody of victory was the same in Bondo, where Dr Ochanda trounced the flamboyant Andiwo Mwai to earn his ticket.

Dr Ochanda mopped up 10,771 votes against Mr Mwai’s 4,967.

"From the nominations, we have learned that election by the people is the simplest way to select the candidates for various positions,” Mr Ochanda.

“The Orange party told us that they were never prepared for this but we can all see that the process is the simplest compared to all others that the party was considering initially. Nobody should be awarded direct nomination, let us all go to the people and ask for their votes."

Many residents turned up for the voting that began early Wednesday morning.

Some aspirants had complained about faulty voting kits that delayed and slowed down voting.

Voters started streaming to the polling centres as early as 6am.

Dr Ochogo earlier accusing some aspirants of bribing voters.

"You know when you give a voter Sh100 or even Sh500, you may not succeed in changing their minds. They would still vote for those they had earlier planned to vote for,” he said.

“I don't want to appear as if I am crying, but that should be discouraged in order to get free, fair and verifiable nominations."

The four candidates will join Senator James Orengo, Dr Oburu Oginga, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and his Ugunja counterpart Opiyo Wandayi, who were awarded direct tickets, as well as MCAs who won nominations, in selling the ODM agenda to voters.