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Citizen Weekly

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Has Cord leader Raila Odinga lost his grip in Kisii politics? This is the question that is in the lips of political analysts after Cord lost the Bonachari by-election last month to Ford-People.
ODM has been commanding huge support in Kisii region which voted overwhelmingly for Raila Odinga in last year’s General Elections but the surprise change of fortunes has sent the whole party brigade back to the drawing board.

Although Raila got close to 80pc of presidential votes in the last general elections, analysts say it is high time he went back to the drawing board to lay fresh strategies ahead of the 2017 elections. As things stand now, the alliance’s support is dwindling day and night if the results of the three by-elections are anything to go by and which points to its waning influence in the region.
Last month, the coalition lost the Bonchari seat after its flag-bearers John Oyioka (ODM) and Wiper's Charles Onyancha garnered 6,977 and 5,171 votes respectively. The seat was won by Zebedeo Opore of Ford-People who got 10,947 votes. Ford-People is an affiliate of Jubilee Coalition.
In the March 4 2013 General Election last year, Zebedeo Opore of Ford People won the seat with 8,992 votes while Oyioka of Kanu emerged second with 8,987 votes, Charles Onyancha ODM, 6,897 and Albert Monyancha Wiper, 160 votes.

Is it therefore a question of Cord losing popularity in Kisii or is it because ODM and WDM sponsored candidates to vie against each other? According to ODM leaders, the loss can be squarely blamed on WDM who sponsored a candidate despite knowing that Bonachri and Kisii by extension is an ODM stronghold.
Cord leaders now claim that Cord is the dominant party in the larger Abagusii region but blame this on disagreements between Wiper and ODM and discord among local leaders.
The other loss is the the Nyaribari Chache seat in a by-election last year after ODM's Chris Bichage was trounced by Ford People's Richard Tongi. The Ford People victory in the Nyaribari Chache by-election was a wake-up call for ODM to save its dwindling fortunes in Kisii region. In the Bomachoge Borabu by-election ODM's Peter Kimori lost to The National Alliance's (TNA) Joel Onyancha.
For the Bonchari seat, sources now say that the fight for ODM ticket cost the party in the by-election. The first mistake ODM did was to ditch Onyancha for Oyioka. Sources say after being given direct nomination, most of the ODM leaders in the region including Kisii Senator Chris Obure and Women Representative Sally Otara withdrew their support and secretly campaigned for Onyancha. 

Mathematically, had Cord fielded one candidate, it could have swept clean majority votes. If ODM's Oyioka who garnered 6,977 votes and Wiper's Onyancha 5,171 votes had agreed to let one of them be the CORD flag bearer their 12,148 votes combined would have beat Opore who got 10,947.
But ODM now blames it on Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who cleared Onyancha despite having knowledge that ODM is popular than Wiper in Kisii going by the number of seats ODM won in the last General Election.
As things stands now, it is now evident that a new political wind is blowing in the Abagusii land and this is now in favour of Ford-people party which has now won two of the three by-elections held in the region with TNA winning one seat.
Cord Kisii leadership is now divided right in the middle and this explains why during the Saba Saba rally no notable Kisii politician was present. Kisii CORD allied governors, senators and women representatives and MPs were no where to be seen during the rally.
The same scenario was witnessed during Raila’s rally in Kisii where most Kisii County MPs skipped the Cord rally at Gusii stadium. Only Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire was in attendance. Low turnout was witnessed with the stadium not being full to capacity as had been expected.
As things stand now, the Gusii community seems to be going back to the Moi era where they voted for Kanu then ruling party at the expense of the opposition.
During the controversial 2007 presidential race between then president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the community went for both Kibaki and Raila.Word has it, the community is not known to be in the cold.
Since the days of indepednce, word has it, Kisii were in support of the late Kenyatta presidency and used to check mate the Luo factor in Nyanza politics. They were appointed in plum position by Kenyatta government and had to access bank loans at will only compared to the Kikuyu community. However just like Moi gimmick of divide and rule in regional politics,Kenyatta also fluelled wars in the regions against powerful politicians.
That all is not well for CORD in the region is no secret. After they lost the Bonchari by- election, Raila put a brave face and returned to Gusii stadium in Kisii county after one year where he had politicized the death of sixteen teachers and students of the Nyambunde accident with supporters rejecting a contribution from president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Unlike the Nyambunde accident funeral service where Raila and his lieutenants used the pen field, this time round he used the official podium expected to be used by Uhuru during the official opening of the Agricultural Southern Kenya branch popularly known as the Kisii Show.
During the funeral service, Raila and his team blamed the government for the increased road accidents in the country for the tragedy even after president Uhuru Kenyatta had fully participated in their being airlifted to Kenyatta national hospital  where the government took responsibility of all the medical services bills.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae’s support for Raila and Cord seems to be fading away. He had once hosted Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto to the churgin of the ODM leadership. But during the Gusii rally, he is said to have given orders that his staff close offices to allow them attend the Cord rally which had been organized a head of the saba saba rally.
He also attended the Kisii rally and while welcoming Raila to his county, Ongwae whose deputy Joash Maangi and county assembly speaker Kerosi Ondieki were abroad for official functions  said " Asante sana baba. Karibu hapa Kisii".
What is still not known is why the Nyamira county governor John Nyagarama and Senator Mong'are Bw'okong'o and all the elected members of parliament from the Gusii region safe for Timothy Bosire from Kitutu Masaba and twenty out of the sixty-five elected and nominated Cord MCAs from the two counties boycotted the event.
The rally organizers did not even get the opportunity to use the public address system from the county maybe for sabotage reasons and instead the team came with equipments of Omega disco from Nakuru county several kilometers away.
The Cord MPs are Simon Ogari- ODM eying the party's national treasurer seat, Richard Onyonka- ODm (Kitutu chache south) , Mong'are Genni -ODM (North Mugirango), James Gesami- ODM (West Mugirango), Ben Momanyi- ODM (Borabu) and Manson Nyamweya- ODM (South Mugirango).
Raila was accompanied by Cord Co-Principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, senators Otieno Kajwang (Homa bay) and James Orengo (Siaya) among other leaders who demanded that IEBC must be disbanded.
The leaders also said that they had lost confidence with the church leaders in the country who were siding with the Jubilee government which Kalonzo said that he can not recognize them as a government but a bunch of leaders.
Deputy leader of majority Pius Abuki who is also an elected ODM MCA from Kitutu Central ward represented the Kisii county assembly which had twelve out of the forty-three Cord MCAs.
The boycott of Kisii Cord leaders which Ongwae, senator Obure and women representative Mary Otara graced has left many in the dark as pertains to the community's next political move to have them in one basket as exercised in three recent by elections where Cord lost terribly.
Back to party politics, the re-emergence of Ford-People in Abagusii politics is sending cold shivers down the spine of ODM and Cord supporters in the region. Sources say a number of Abagusii politicians elected on ODM ticket are now seen as trooping back to their motherland party of Ford-People.
As ODM grapples with the loss in three by-elections, the Jubilee Alliance on the other hand celebrated a major victory after its affiliate party, Ford-People, picked the spoils in Nyaribari Chache to boost the coalition’s parliamentary strength.
According to Cord’s top leadership, the loss by ODM in Kisii, particularly in Nyaribari Chache was attributed to political propaganda by section of Abagusii leaders that Ford-People leader Simeon Nyachae had rejoined active politics and that a vote for Ford-people candidate was a vote for Nyachae. To most voters, it was another round of Raila Vs Nyachae political battle.
Sources say in the three by-elections, Ford People spent a fortune through party patron Nyachae who is said to have spent millions bankrolling Ford-People candidates. Sources say Nyachae is plotting to field one of his sons for the Kisii gubernatorial seat in 2017 to inherit his political mantle.
Nyachae is known to have been holding secret meetings with Abagusii leaders both from his party and ODM so as to have them return to Ford-people ahead of the 2017 elections.
In the last General Election, ODM won all the county seats in Kisii and three out of nine parliamentary seats. South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya , Bomachoge Chache MP Simon Ogari, Richard Onyonka of Kitutu Chache South and the thrown out Nyaribari Chache’s Bichage won their seats on the ODM ticket. TNA has now two MPs Jimmy Angwenyi of Kitutu Chache North and Joel Onyancha of Bomachoge Borabu.
Going by the current political realignments in Ksii region, ODM has remained with only Ogari and Onyonka as the only loyal MPs to the party from the whole of Kisii County. South Mugirango’s Nyamweya defied his party and drummed support for Ford People in the two by-elections.
Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi who is a staunch ODM and Raila supporter is also said to be having one leg in ODM and another one elsewhere. Sources say that he has been campaigning for Ford-people candidates in two by-elections against the wishes of his ODM party. There have been rumuors that he is planning to ditch ODM for Ford-People where he is likely to be a running mate to Charles Nyachae for the Kisii gubernatorial race while others say he can as well go for the governor’s seat himself.
Maangi is close to the Nyachae family is at now at pains to explain why he betrayed the party by supporting rival candidates in a silent political realignment for the 2017 Kisii gubernatorial race. However, other ODM leaders from the region have asked Maangi to work closely with Ongwae to form a formidable force in 2017.