Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 12 April 2015

THE INSIDE STORY OF ODM KISII BRANCH TALKS

 The inside story of ODM Kisii branch talks

What was expected to be a reconciliatory meeting among leaders from Kisii county at Ufanisi Resort last week turned out to be a blamegame among supporters of political leaders as 2017 games played out.
The meeting was called ostensibly to reconcile leaders from the region to bury their differences and to work together for the sake of unity among the party officials.
The tension-packed meeting was chaired by Kisii Senator Chris Obure and attended by Kisii governor James Ongwae, his deputy Joash Maangi, women representative Mary Otara, county assembly speaker Kerosi Ondieki MCAs, together with other subcounty officials.
The meeting kicked off with Obure asking elected leaders and party officials to support the county government to deliver the services, a call that was overwhelmingly supported.
But when Obure mentioned that the meeting was called because it was clear that there were big gaps which had emerged within the party officials which had to be closed as early as possible to prepare the party for 2017, tension rose.
At one time, Obure directly mentioned that officials must be united as they prepare the party for 2017, “We are preparing the party for the 2017 elections and as a measure to ensure that we have unity, we needed to settle all our differences,” said Obure.
It was the mention of Ongwae, Maangi unity that raised further tempers with nominated MCA Ochwangi Mengo turning the heat on Maangi blaming him as being involved in premature campaigns for 2017.
Mengo who comes from Kitutu Chache as Ongwae is the ODM youth leader in Kisii. During the meeting, he told those present he was bitter with Maangi for engaging in early campaighns. A bitter Mengo has also claimed that Maangi had held a secret meeting at Semeta Lodge. Maangi’s supporters are now blaming Mengo for spreading rumours and thwarting attempts to have a united ODM in 2017.
The wrangles that were to be ironed out during the meeting according to sources privy to the agenda was to reconcile party officials but Maangi unaware that Mengo had plotted to dismiss him as a lone ranger who is secretly campaigning for the big seat in 2017 attended the meeting not aware that he would be made the subject of discussion.
At one time Mengo tried to dismiss Maangi that he was not elected since he was just a running mate a claim that prompted Maangi’s supporters to remind him to read the constitution which makes the running mate assume office having been elected together with the governor.
Maangi’s supporters are now warning those plotting to demean Maangi that without the votes from Bomachoge Chache and Bomachoge Borabu, they could have not won the seat without the support of Mangi.
Rather than reconciling the leaders, the meeting ended with battlelines clearly drawn between Ongwae and Maangi supporters. Ongwae has always maintained that there is no bad blood between him and his loyal deputy but a creation of their supporters, a sentiment that Maangi supported. 
There have been claims that Maangi is either plotting to run for the gubernatorial seat in 2017 against Ongwae while others claim that he is plotting to ditch ODM for Ford-People to team up with CIC chairman Charles Nyachae as his running mate.
At one time Maangi was confronted to state his 2017 political plan but was noncommittal as to whether he will vie against his boss or will decamp to join Ford-People and termed them as rumuors and creation of his political detractors. He has therefore left his supporters and opponents guessing. However, those who know him say he has been seen both in public and private with Nyachae in different occasions.
Those who have been closely monitoring political events as they unfold in Kisii county now say that  a section of politicians are pushing for the Nyachae/Maangi joint ticket. Those in support say two have resources to wedge strong and well oiled campaign machinery similar to what the old Nyachae did in 2002 when he flew the Ford-People presidential flag.