ODM primaries: Let the voters decide, says Raila’s sister Ruth Odinga

Ruth Odinga

Kisumu Woman Representative aspirant Ruth Odinga speaks during her brother Oburu Oginga's senatorial bid launch in Bondo, Siaya County, on March 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s sister has cautioned the party against issuing direct tickets to aspirants, noting the move could jeopardise his chances of ascending to presidency.

Ms Ruth Odinga, a former Kisumu deputy governor, pointed out that direct tickets could lead to voter apathy.

Ms Odinga has expressed interest in the Kisumu Woman rep seat. She called on other aspirants to directly engage the electorate to enhance their chances of winning.

“Anyone who wants to seek the ODM party ticket should not feel intimidated. I also don’t expect any favour but will campaign like any other person,” said Ms Odinga, who spoke at a funeral in Nyando on Thursday.

Peaceful campaigns

She called on aspirants to engage in peaceful campaigns that are free of violence and name-calling.

Her sentiments were supported by former East African Community (EAC) chief administrative secretary Ken Obura, who is contesting against governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.

“We are in the period where we are selling our ideas to the people. If one feels like they want Prof Nyong'o then they will vote for him, but if one feels they want change, they will vote for me,” he said.

The party primaries will kick off early next month and this has already raised the political temperature in the region considered as a stronghold of Mr Odinga.

According to a schedule by the party’s National Elections Board, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori will hold primaries on April 6, 12, 14 and 15 respectively.

While the party has not specified their preferred mode of nomination, various aspirants are pushing for voters to decide.

Positions

High-stake contests are expected for the positions of governors as top party stalwarts and Mr Odinga’s close allies have launched massive campaigns to grab the plum jobs.

Out of the four counties, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya governors will not be seeking re-election after serving their second and last terms as stipulated in the constitution.

Prof Nyong’o, who edged out former Governor Jack Ranguma in 2017, will, however, be seeking to defend his seat.

Senator Fred Outa, former Kisumu Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo and Mr Ranguma, who had earlier declared their interest to vie for the position, shelved their ambitions in favour of Mr Obura .

The race for Kisumu Senate seat has attracted six candidates, among them Kisumu ODM chairman Ayiecho Olweny, senior counsel Tom Ojienda and nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga.

Despite holding a critical position in the party, Prof Olweny said he will be bound by the party’s decision.

In Homa Bay, the race to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti has attracted ODM chair John Mbadi, Woman rep Gladys Wanga, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, deputy governor Hamilton Orata and Kuppet secretary-general Akello Misori, among others.

Long-serving legislator James Orengo, who is seeking the party’s ticket to vie for Siaya governor seat, will face former police spokesman Charles Owino, deputy governor James Okumbe, former banker Otieno Okanja, ex-United Nations official Bella Akinyi and advocate George Mugoye Mbeya for the ODM ticket.

ODM ticket

The battle is also expected to be stiff for the seats of MPs, Woman reps and members of county assemblies who will fight it out for the ODM ticket, a party that enjoys massive support in the region.

The National Delegates Conference approved the use of consensus, direct nomination, identification of candidates through voting by delegates and universal suffrage, through which ODM members would vote for their preferred candidates.

The party’s National Governing Council, also attended by Mr Odinga late last month, agreed to use opinion polls to pick its candidates which they noted as “simple and cost-effective.”

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