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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Raila tasks Awiti to deliver Homa-Bay by-election seat

It appears that Cord leader Raila Odinga is worried by the current goings on in Homa-Bay senator seat by-election.
Word has it that to win the seat, Raila has entrusted Governor Cyprian Awiti and local MPs led by John Mbandi to deliver the seat. To this effect, Awiti has been busy meeting the influential teachers’ vote, pastors, women groups, traders and boda boda operators to win their support.
Insiders say that Awiti’s scheming has sent shockwaves in the county and talk is that he is using public funds has emerged. However, those said to be behind the rumours are a worried lot fearing defeat, so it is said. As things stand, ODM eyes are on Awiti to deliver the seat and has taken the task with enthusiasm. Awiti’s argument is that he cannot betray the power sharing formula worked on prior to 2013 general elections in which clannism was a key factor. His decision to back the ODM face was a big catch and has tilted the political equation ahead the by-election date.
This is coming even after  Raila ODM   party’s  controversial nomination  system  has seen it incur  heavy  losses in the  recent  series  of  by-elections  in Gusii region.
That Raila and his allies are worried is due to fear that history is bound to happen again. During 2013 polls, in his home turf of Luo Nyanza, ODM lost three parliamentary seats. It also failed to grab one governor slot in March 2013 elections. ODM furthermore suffered   parliamentary defeats in two  Kuria  parliamentary  constituencies  in Migori  county.
The two seats in Kuria – Kuria East and West were easily taken up by URP  candidates and were now  safely secured by the Jubilee  coalition in the August  House.
The four parliamentary seats ODM lost in Gusii  region in a series of by-elections that  followed complaints and  petitions lodged by 2013   election losers include  Nyaribari Chache, Bobasi,  Bonchari and Bomachoge  Chache.
In  Luo  Nyanza,  the  candidates    who were  denied ODM   nominations   certificates  irregularly  after they  had  won their  primary  nominations and  were  later  able  to  clinch  nomination certificate  of  other  parties  were  seats in Awendo, Alego-Usonga,  Muhoroni and Kisumu West constituencies. In Muhoroni, Ayiecho Olweny who of late has been isolated by varsity dons he abused while education assistant minister was defeated by James Onyango K’oyoo. All these  constituencies  were  hitherto considered  to be in the  ODM  strongholds in Raila’s  home  turf  of  Luo  Nyanza, but  were lost  due  to  the  much  flawed  nomination exercises.
Taking into account of what is now happening in the ongoing campaigns for the vacant Senate seat in Homa-Bay county, it looks as if Raila has yet  learnt a good lesson from his ODM dismissal performances and big losses in recent by elections. Agwambo visited Homa-Bay to drum up support for the seemingly unpopular Moses Kajwang’   in the on going senatorial by-elections campaigns.
Kajwang presented his  papers to the IEBC with Raila  on his side to show solidarity with his party torchbearer in the Senate race  and  thereafter  addressed supporters  at Rose Muhando Stadium in town. In attendance  were mainly  people  transported  by  buses  from  far  places like  Oyugis, Rongo, Awendo  and  Migori.
For Raila to restore the confidence of South Nyanza in general and Homa Bay voters in particular, he will have to get rid of some of his close advisers, who include Mbadi, Suna MP Mohammed Junet and Gladys Wanga the women rep. The four are said to be the reason behind the so-called dissident MPs who are opposed to Moses Kajwang’s direct nomination. It is whispered the four appears as if they were the ones who are more loyal to the ODM supremo than the other legislators from the region.
Raila defiantly ignored  the spirited ODM  leaders not comfortable with his favourite candidate and snubbed his  meeting. They are known to have vocally and vehemently  resisted his choice .
The rebellious MPs, included  George  Omer, (Rangwe) James  Rege (Karachuonyo),    Silvance  Osele (Kabondo  Kasipul), Augustino  Neto (Ndhiwa) and  Milie  Odhiambo  (Mbita), all who skipped the rally.
In attendance at the  nomination venue at  gospel musician Rose Muhando  stadium were John Mbadi  (Suba), Peter Kaluma (Homa-Bay Town), Joseph Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul) and  Gladys Wanga women rep. Also in Raila’s bandwagon was governor Awiti.
At the rally, Raila put up  a spirited defence  saying  it  was the ODM elections  board  which had  picked  Moses Kajwang and not  himself.
He took a swipe at MPs  who are opposed to his  choice  reportedly  referring   crocodiles shedding tears.
Apart from Kajwang, others in the race are Philip Okundi on Maendeleo Party, Medo Misama, Hillary Alila, Innocent Misara and Fred Rabongo. Hillary Alila came second to the late Kajwang and together with Okundi are said to be giving ODM schemers sleepless nights.