Rebel Nyanza MPs test Raila's mettle in the region

Nicholas Gumbo, Evans Kidero, Dalmas Otieno

From left: Nyanza governor candidates Nicholas Gumbo (Siaya)  Dalmas Otieno (Migori) and Evans Kdero (Homa Bay).

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Despite the political wave sweeping the Nyanza region in support of ODM leader Raila Odinga, a group of politicians have stood their ground and rebelled against him.

As the dust settles on ODM primaries in the region, the politicians have gone against the grain and are gearing up for a battle with Mr Odinga’s troops in the August 9 General Election.

Leading the pack is Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado, who has been popularising his new outfit, the People’s Democratic Party.

ODM ward reps in Migori County lost in the primaries, a sign of voter disapproval of their performance in the last five years.

Political underdogs

Only four serving ward representatives bagged the ODM ticket while the rest were defeated by political underdogs.

In October, ODM national chairman John Mbadi warned the MCAs of “unforeseen consequences” over their continued disloyalty to the party. And last week, the party had the opportunity to punish the Obado-allied legislators.

However, Mr Obado is said to be keen on fielding candidates to face the ODM brigade in an attempt to stamp his authority and gauge his popularity.

While he has not said it openly, the Migori governor is also said to be supporting former minister Dalmas Otieno, who will face ODM’s Ochillo Ayacko for the county’s top seat.

Mr Otieno and other rebel leaders at one time attempted to bring an alternative voice to Luo Nyanza, dubbed ‘Kalausi’, meaning ‘whirlwind’, but this did not last long.

Apart from Mr Otieno, another leader who will be attempting to fight the ODM wave is Nairobi ex-governor Evans Kidero. He is not a stranger to controversy. He was once listed as one of the politicians who were likely to take over from Mr Odinga as the Luo kingpin.

Dr Kidero recently decided to contest as an independent candidate after ODM gave Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga a direct ticket to contest the governor’s seat.

Real change

He vowed to give Homa Bay residents an alternative, saying he presents the real change that the county needs.

In Siaya, former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo and former police spokesperson Charles Owino want the governor’s and deputy governor’s seats, respectively, under the United Democratic Movement party.

They are said to be a tough team that will create problems for Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, who was given a direct ticket to contest the Siaya governorship.

Another formidable force is Ugenya MP David Ochieng, who will be defending his seat on a Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party ticket. Mr Ochieng fought the ODM wave to be re-elected in 2017.

While his party is among those under the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party, Mr Ochieng, MDG’s leader, has vowed to field candidates in all seats from ward representative to governor.

His party last week awarded Kisumu County ex-boss Jack Ranguma a direct ticket to face off with Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o in the August Elections.

Kisumu West’s Olago Aluoch will be flying the MDG flag as he seeks re-election after ODM gave the go-ahead to Rozah Buyu to contest the seat.

Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir has also maintained that he will seek a fourth term not under any party but as an independent candidate.

Mr Eliud Owalo, Deputy President William Ruto’s point man in Nyanza, will also be trying to prove a point to his boss.

Young people

This happens even as a number of young people who were allied to the DP defected to ODM and vowed to campaign for Mr Odinga for the presidency.

The list of candidates is set to increase as many disgruntled leaders are exploring various options to continue with their journey after they were rigged out or denied a chance to participate in primaries.

These include Kisumu Central MP Fred Ouda, who lost to Dr Joshua Oron in the parliamentary seat primaries, and his counterparts Elisha Odhiambo of Gem and Joshua Onyango K’oyoo, whose results have been nullified and tickets given to other candidates.

Gem’s Mr Odhiambo had threatened to boycott a repeat party primary in his constituency called by ODM, terming the planned voting illegal.

The ODM disputes resolution tribunal, chaired by Fredrick Orego, affirmed that the primaries were conducted according to the party’s nomination rules and that the allegations levelled against Mr Odhiambo were highly generalised, pleaded without specificity and were not highlighted during oral submissions. Dr Midiwo has since been awarded the certificate.

“If anybody wanted to give Midiwo the certificate, they would have told me but not take me through this treacherous process which I won and now you want to take it from me. This is unpalatable. On the ninth of August, I will be on the ballot no matter what,” said Mr Odhiambo.

In an interview with Ramogi TV, Mr Ouda said he would explore other dispute resolution structures but either way, his name will be on the ballot.

“We have other avenues we can explore, including a [rerun], which I am ready for because the people of Kisumu Central are well aware of my development record and my voters are still alive. In August, I will be on the ballot whether in ODM or as an independent candidate,” said Mr Ouda.

It is not yet clear whether Mr K’oyoo’s move will work to his advantage after his nomination certificate was withdrawn. In 2013 he was denied an ODM certificate but clinched the seat under PDP.

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