Political temperatures have started rising in Nyanza as parties head to the primaries, with Migori Governor Okoth Obado on Tuesday warning Senators Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and James Orengo (Siaya) to keep off Migori county.
Mr Obado also accused the two senators of misleading ODM deputy party leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho to take sides.
The governor gave the warning even as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko and the ODM party ordered investigations into the Monday violence in Migori in which one of Mr Joho’s bodyguards was shot in the leg and several people injured.
The Orange party executive director Oduor Ong’wen said the disciplinary committee would demand a report from the local branch office on the cause of the violence.
“We will then study the report and take appropriate disciplinary action on the leaders who caused the mayhem. If they are candidates, we may consider disqualifying them from the party primaries,” Mr Ongwen said.
ODM politicians claimed that the chaos was an attempt to assassinate governor Joho.
But yesterday, Mr Obado claimed that the two senators who accompanied Mr Joho to Migori to open an ODM office together with his opponent Ochillo Ayacko, were causing confusion in the region by endorsing some candidates.
“Let them concentrate in their areas where they have never won a free and fair nomination. They want to mess the nominations here but we will not allow them,” said the county boss.
“They are hanging on the coat-tails of Mr Raila Odinga in order to remain relevant politically. It is unfortunate that they misled Mr Joho to avoid me during his visit to Migori,” added Mr Obado.
The Joho group was in Migori at the invitation of Suna East MP Junet Mohammed who has a frosty relationship with the governor.
WILL NOT SUCCEED
“They want to depict me as a Jubilee mole but they will not succeed,” said Mr Obado, who recently ditched the People Democratic Party (PDP) for ODM.
Mr Obado was a victim of the botched Orange party primaries in 2013, forcing him to seek refuge in PDP, associated with former Assistant minister Omingo Magara.
He is caught up in a bruising battle with Mr Ayacko, a former Energy minister, for the ODM ticket in primaries scheduled for April 19. The governor claims that the Migori meeting might have been used to endorse Mr Ayacko.
In a letter to Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro on Tuesday, Mr Tobiko asked the investigators to submit their findings to his office soon.
Through his deputy Mr Nicholas Kamutu, Mr Tobiko stated: “We have noted with deep concern the incident of violence reported both in electronic and print media which occurred during an ODM rally in Migori on April 3, 2017 wherein a number of people were injured and property damaged”.
He further wrote: “I direct you to immediately and urgently commence thorough investigations into the incident and submit the resultant file for perusal and direction”.
Mr Tobiko’s order came a day after ODM leaders accused the Jubilee government of an attempt to assassinate Mr Joho at the rally.
Trouble started when the governor arrived at the rally, with gunshots being fired into the air.
Mr Obado on Monday claimed that supporters of his opponents destroyed his campaign merchandise in Rongo, Awendo and Migori towns.
“Anybody found with my branded umbrellas and t-shirts was harassed before the merchandise was snatched and destroyed,” he said.
The county boss, who was being accused of causing the chaos, said he was a peace-loving leader.
“Let everybody campaign in his area without being seen to be stoking trouble in other regions,” said Mr Obado.
He narrated how Mr Joho evaded him during the visit and at one point, he “stopped picking my calls”.
“This definitely does not reflect teamwork in the party and I will not accept to be undermined,” he explained.
Other hopefuls for the seat are Mrs Anne Anyanga and former Sony Sugar Managing Director Paul Odola.
Chaos, gunshots and tears had marred the ODM rally in Migori town. Dozens of people, including journalists, were injured when all hell broke loose at the venue.
The leaders’ bodyguards formed human shields around their bosses as gunshots rent the air, although some of them sustained minor injuries.
Migori County police commandant David Kirui yesterday distanced his offices from the violence.
He said the chaos was started by bodyguards of the leaders who started firing in the air when the rally was under way.
“We only came in to restore calm after the meeting, which we had licensed, turned chaotic,” he explained.