VOTERS in Nyanza have revolted against Prime Minister Raila Odinga by rejecting most of his allies in the ODM nominations.
Nyanza has been a stronghold of Odingaism since independence when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was listened to religiously.
Raila’s word still carries weight but now virtually all Luo Nyanza MPs have been voted out except for James Orengo, Dalmas Otieno and John Pesa.
The Odinga family also took a beating with Raila’s sister being rejected and his brother apparently struggling.
Raila’s cousin Jakoyo Midiwo, ODM chief whip in the last Parliament, apparently lost earlier in the day but managed to force a recount in Gem constituency.
Historically association with Raila was a virtual guarantee for the party ticket and an easy election.
Raila’s elder brother Dr Oburu Oginga was apparently a major casualty.
As the Star went to press last night, Oburu was teetering towards defeat by newcomer William Oduol for the Siaya governor seat. Oduol had opened an unassailable lead of 16,980 votes to Oburu’s 3,866 while the third placed Otieno Okanja had just 211.
But it was then announced on media that Oburu had won the ticket with 62,232 against Oduol’s 35,198. Called for confirmation, ODM election chairman Franklin Bett said no results were yet final.
“I will respect the people’s will and will work with whoever is elected,” said Raila yesterday morning.
In Kisumu County, Raila’s sister Ruth Odinga was floored by Jack Ranguma, a former Kenya Revenue Authority official, in the confused nominations.
Ruth and aspirant Omollo Owino later condemned the nomination exercise as a sham. She accused ODM headquarters of stage-managing the nomination on behalf of Ranguma.
The Odinga family has dominated Nyanza politics for years. Raila’s father wielded immense influence there until his death in 1994 and anyone who opposed him was branded a traitor and ‘punished’ by the voters.
His son Raila inherited Jaramogi’s mantle and has since then exercised considerable influence on who gets elected.
Until these nominations, it was only in 1997 that Ford Kenya’s James Orengo, MP for Ugenya, and Joe Donde, MP for Gem, went against the NDP wave but still managed to triumph in the polls.
That year Raila was the NDP presidential candidate and emerged third behind President Moi and then opposition leader Mwai Kibaki of DP.
But they were not lucky a second time lucky in 2002. Narc swept the region as Kenyans voted out the KANU regime. Orengo was defeated by his late brother-in-law Stephen Ondiek and only made a comeback in 2007 after swallowing his pride and rejoining Raila’s ODM.
Aggrey Mwamu, a Kisumu-based lawyer, yesterday denied that the people were challenging Raila.
“It is not about Odingaism but about the people realizing their rights under the new constitution and the need for change. They are voting against the conduct of the MPs which has been very poor,” said Mwamu.
According to Mwamu, the former MPs had mismanaged the Constituency Development Funds and failed to initiate development projects.
The cousin of former Mbita MP Otieno Kajwang narrowly escaped death narrowly. Angry voters attacked him claiming that he was marking ballot papers in favour of the Immigration minister who is seeking the ODM ticket for the Senate.
The revolt in Gem constituency saw Midiwo beaten by another newcomer Elisha Odhiambo who was leading with 12,124 votes to Midiwo’s 7,109.
Last night returning officers had reportedly nullified the primaries in Gem and Alego-Usonga constituencies after chaos broke out amid claims of irregularities.
Other former MPs who were defeated were Martin Ogindo in Homa Bay; Edick Anyanga; and Nyakach MP Pollyns Ochieng who lost to Aduma Owuor by 12,562 to 6,241.
ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o was also hanging on precariously in the race for the Kisumu senate seat nomination.
Former Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch was running for the ODM ticket against Rozah Buyu. There was controversy as election materials went missing and prevented voting.
Former Karachuonyo MP James Rege’s lead is still being contested by his challengers Adipo Okuome, Dr Ofafa Alfred and Tom Dola.
Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno managed to trounce his opponents.
In Ugenya, Steve Mwanga, Orange House’s favourite and part of Oburu’s line-up, could only manage fifth position against newcomer David Ouma. The returning officer declined to declare the results as tension rose in the constituency previously represented by Orengo.
Orengo’s former personal assistant, Tom Nduku, also fared badly, managing only a third position behind James Opiyo Wandayi and Joseph Aluru in the newly-created Ugunja constituency.