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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Schemes and counterschemes in Homa Bay by-election

For  the  ODM  nominee  Moses  Kajwang  to clinch victory in the impending by-election occasioned  by the demise of his elder brother Otieno Kajwang as Homa Bay senator, it will be  an  uphill  task that might require God’s intervention as the voters  in the region  seem  to  be totally  defiant  and  out  to shame  the  Orange  leadership for imposing the younger Kajwang on the electorate.
Raila Odinga is said to be aware of the complex nature in the by-election and has decided to go all the way to have his preferred candidate win. Raila was present during the presentation of nomination papers and addressed the first campaign rally at Homa Bay Stadium.
Sources even say Raila talked to one of the candidates to withdraw from the race. Silas Jakakimba, a one-time aide of Raila is said to have been promised support come 2017. Raila is said to have told him that since the late  Kajwang was his ally, to honour him in death, it was prudent and necessary to have a family member complete his term just as it happened in Makueni after the death of Mutula Kilonzo. His son was fronted by Wiper to win the by-election. In fact come 2017, Raila has promised not to back anybody in the entire Luo-Nyanza to allow voters make their own decision to avoid embarrassment as it happened in 2013. For instance in Muhoroni, Raila choice for the seat was Ayiecho Olweny.  He was defeated hands down by Onyango K’oyoo. Olweny is having difficult times as his colleagues in the academic field openly ridicule him. At his recent visit to University of Nairobi, a don confronted him and told him off. He even asked him what he was doing at the university. It emerged while serving as an assistant minister for Education, the bitter don approached Olweny for help but dismissed him from his Jogoo House office. At Maseno University, academic staff have no time for Olweny whom they claim was too proud when in government.
That things are not rosy for Raila in Homa Bay is seen in the manner he has been trying to sell the ODM candidate. The situation was even worsened by Raila’s statement at the Bondo funeral of his son Fidel in which he publicly and undiplomatically endorsed Moses as this party’s torchbearer in the by-election scheduled for February 12 2015.
Raila also introduced Moses before the a huge crowd of  mourners most of them people from his hometurf  of  Sakwa,  Bondo.
Raila turned what was expected to be a solemn sending-off and the burial of his firstborn son Fidel Castro Makarios Odhiambo Odinga into a political platform  and a forum for politics about the upcoming  by-election for the vacant senate  seat  in HomaBay county. It is imperative to note that the late Fidel was fronting for Hilary Alila while Raila was for the young Kajwang.
The endorsement of the younger Kajwang has invigorated his opponents in the region who are vehemently opposed to the party. The undemocratic choice of Moses through direct nomination, the candidate who is a political unknown in the region is the talk of town. Local political pundits and observers alike have termed the direct nomination of Moses as ‘a mockery to democratic principles’ which ODM claims to cherish through the lip services.
In fact, one Luo Council of  Elders  member appealed  to  Raila  to  keep  off  Homa Bay  senatorial  campaign as his active participation in the campaign has the highest high  risk  of permanently dividing  the  Luo  community  into  two  opposite  camps of MPs from South Nyanza  and  Central  Nyanza. If this happens, it could also ruin Raila’s chances of realising his ambition of winning the presidency come 2017.
 MPs who are opposed to Moses held a  separate meeting at Kachien home of a Kasipul  politician Charles Ong’ondo to brace for a tough battle ahead of the by-election.
The opponents  of Moses   include Clivans  Osele   (Kabondo  Kasipul ),  James Rege (Karachuonyo), George  Oner (Rangwe) and  Augustino  Netto  (Ndhiwa ), former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo, Philip Okundi who is also an aspirant in the senatorial race was expected at the talks. They resolved that  the Homa Bay  people  were  capable  of  charting  their  own political decision without external  interference.
At the gathering in Kachien village in Kasipul constituency, a section of South  Nyanza  MPs  who  are opposed  to the  ODM’s nominee for  the senate  seat  urged  Raila  to let  the  electorate  pick a candidate of  their  choice.
Led  by Rege  the  MP for  Karachuonyo   and dozen of the party county  branch officials, Rege who is  also  the  county  ODM  branch  secretary  criticised  the  party  leadership  for  failing  to  conduct  free  and  transparent nominations  in  December  last  year. The  MP told  the  meeting of how on his  capacity as the party branch  secretary, he had  the  proper  list  of  eligible  delegates  but  it  was  ignored  and  replaced  by another  list  prepared  by  unknown  people before  the  nomination  exercise  was disrupted  by hired   goons.
He  explained  that  it was  wrong  for  any  outsider  to  give  the  directives  to the  people  of  Homa Bay  who  to elect  in the  senatorial  race.
“I have  high respect for Raila, but  he  should  allow  the  Homa -Bay  voters  to elect  a senator  of  their  own  choice,” Rege lamented.
The  meeting  was  heled at  the  home  of Kasipul  politician  Charles Were. Those in attendance denounced the recent statement by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandai who was quoted by the media as saying that Raila needs not to be physically present at the HomaBay senatorial campaign for Moses to win the by-election. They described the statement as the most arrogant, ignorant and underestimation of the intelligence of the people of Homa Bay.