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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 9 February 2015

Gameshot schemes in Kisumu govenor’s duel with Raila sister

There is no secret now more that Kisumu county is on fire following a public spat between Governor Jack Ranguma and his deputy Ruth Odinga. For a long time, the two have been pulling in different directions which has affected service delivery.
The two leaders entered a forced political marriage in 2013 following a stalemate in ODM primaries for the gubernatorial seat but since the election, their union has been on the rocks.
It is now being whispered that Ruth is busy positioning herself for the 2017 elections for the gubernatorial seat and that her gameplan is to have Ranguma impeached through collection of signatures to effect the move. If that plan succeeds, she hopes as deputy governor, she will automatically assume the governor’s saddle and serve for the reminder of the term, strategically positioning her for a final onslaught and stab come 2017. 
The two found themselves in a forced marriage after Ranguma was forced by ODM top brass to have Ruth as his running mate. Ruth had contested the gubernatorial nominations and lost to Ranguma but ODM leader Raila Odinga is said to have intervened to have Ruth, his sister, nominated, something Ranguma had to accept if he was to be given the ODM certificate.
The trouble between the two has been brewing for long with Ruth accusing Ranguma of making decisions without seeking her opinion. It started with appointments to various offices in which Ruth was sidelined.
Most recently, the two were caught in a serious war over a planned trip to Nairobi in which Ruth claimed she was not consulted and dismissed it as misuse of public funds. Ranguma had planned to fly out 49 members of the county assembly for bonding in Nairobi at a cost of Sh5 million.
Ruth said the retreat was unnecessary. At the end of the day, Ranguma bowed to pressure and the trip was cancelled much to the chagrin of the MCAs.
Recently, the two leaders were at the other’s neck after Ranguma made changes to his cabinet without consulting her. To show things are bad, Ruth also heard of the changes through the press and as she tried to reach to Ranguma as to why he made the changes without consultations, sources say Ranguma told her that the constitution is clear that the power to hire and fire rests with him and not the deputy governor.
It has since emerged that Ranguma had read the writing on the wall and word had leaked out that some of the members of the executive were plotting to impeach him and have Ruth as the governor. It is being suspected that the sacked executive committee members were in Ruth’s camp and were loyal to her and not to the governor.
Among the executive members Ranguma believed were loyal to Ruth was committee member in charge of Finance Joseph Okal who was finally dropped.
Another executive committee member allied Ruth shown the door was Vincent Kodera who has been in charge of roads, public works and physical planning. Kodera contested the ODM nominations for the gubernatorial race but lost to Ranguma. Sources say it was Ruth who brokered the deal to have him named in the cabinet.
It is said Kodera and Ruth were working on a plot that would eventually have seen Ruth go for the governor’s position with Kodera as the running mate. Although those pushing for this plan are yet to convince Kodera to play second fiddle, sources say it was a deal that was about to be sealed before Ranguma got wind of it and dismissed Kodera. There is also the theory that the planned impeachment of Ranguma would see Ruth succeed him with Kodera being appointed to deputise her.
Another Ruth ally whom Ranguma dropped was Rhoda Ahonobadha who has been in charge of environment. She also ran for the gubernatorial race during the ODM primaries but lost to Ranguma. 
The executive member who was in charge of water and irrigation Barack Abonyo has also been shown the door. Those who have been monitoring political events as they unfold in Kisumu now say Ranguma has been running the county affairs with his kitchen cabinet while ignoring the people he should consult before making administrative decisions.
Investigations reveal that days before the sacking of the executive members, the kitchen cabinet held several meetings. Among the known members of the kitchen cabinet is Bishop Joshua Koyo of Chrismatic Episcol Church in Kisumu. He is a brother of Ranguma and it is his home where the kitchen cabinet met to work out on the reshuffle that saw Ruth allies kicked out.
Another key member of the kitchen cabinet who is also known to be calling the shots is Ranguma’s wife Olivia. Sources say in most cases she has the last say on issues related to Kisumu county. Also in the kitchen cabinet is a Mr Kadir who is a key decision-maker in the executive.
Other key members of the kitchen cabinet are Dan Kidha, Joshua Nyamori, Winnie Owiti, and Jennifer Kere who is also the education executive committee member and Joel Oron who is the political mobiliser and who is a former clerk at the defunct Nyando council.
As Ranguma plots on how to counter Ruth and her allies ahead of 2017, she is also said to be working on a counterplan to see Ranguma leave the office prematurely.
The fact that Ruth is eyeing the 2017 Kisumu gubernatorial seat is not a secret and she talks about it openly saying she is currently in a marriage of convenience with Ranguma and that come the end of their term, she will meet Ranguma at the ballot box.
Investigations reveal that the process to collect signatures to send the entire Kisumu county executive home has been hijacked by Ruth who has now turned it into a signature collection drama to send only Ranguma home. The signature collection initiative was started at a meeting held at Mama Safi Hotel in Nyalenda and it was dubbed Okoa Kisumu.
 Ruth has however turned the Okoa Kisumu initiative to a political vehicle that is to remove Ranguma from office and install her as the new governor with Kodera as deputy. 
But one factor Ruth must address is the now emerging force of the KKK (Kano, Kisumo, Kajulu). Those in support of Ranguma are banking on the support of the KKK who are the majority voters in Kisumu county. The KKK clans cover Nyando Kisumu East, Kisumu Central, Kisumu West and Muhoroni constituencies.
It is said those opposed to Ruth’s schemes to remove Ranguma are also demanding that she should relocate to her home county of Siaya and run for the seat rather than impose herself on Kisumu people.
Already, politicians from the county have taken sides in the war that is now being fought between the governor and his deputy. In Seme constituency, area MP James Nyikal has very little time for Ranguma. His main problem is a claim that Ranguma was behind the impeachment of the Speaker Ann Adul. Adul comes from Nyika’s Seme constituency. Although High Court revoked the impeachment, Kisumu MCAs allegedly with the blessings of Ranguma have refused to accept her back. Seme people are now up in arms against the governor and say they will vote for Ruth as a block come 2017.
In Nyakach, area MP Aduma Owuor is a key supporter of the deputy governor. Aduma is known to be a Raila loyalist. The sacking of Kodera who is also from Nyakach constituency has worsened the situation with Nyakach people also saying they will teach Ranguma a lasting political lesson in 2017.
In Kisumu Central, area MP Ken Obura is being considered a party rebel and has no time for both the governor and his deputy. It is imperative to note that Kisumu Central is a cosmopolitan constituency where 90pc of the voters are immigrants with only 10pc being natives of Kisumu.
Obura himself is an immigrant. Obura’s birth place is Kano but from birth to his current position, he has all along lived in Wagusu Sakwa, Bondo. Before joining politics, he was an employee at the then prime minister’s office.
Obura began his rebellious activities after word leaked out that the Odinga family was grooming Fidel Odinga for a political seat in 2017. Initially, it was thought that the late Fidel would go for the Kibra seat in Nairobi but it later emerged that his eyes were set in Kisumu Central. Obura did not take it kindly and told Raila not to impose Fidel on the electorate.
It is said that Obura won the ODM nomination under controversial circumstances as ODM board declared him the winner though he had allegedly lost at the primaries. He later won the seat with 48,195 votes against Abdul Omar of Ford-Kenya who got 31,437 votes.
The Ranguma-Odinga duel is just one phase of the political crisis unfolding in Kisumu. Last year, area senator Anyang’ Nyong’o was dragged into the local wars when youths ejected him and some MPs from a meeting and accused him of undermining the governor.