ODM fortunes continue dwindling

ODM’s fortunes in Nyanza appeared to dwindle further Friday after Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero broke ranks with his party colleagues and backed candidates from rival parties for the upcoming by-elections.

It was a sign of things to come in Raila Odinga’s party at a time he is on sabbatical leave in the US and is expected to come back to face simmering rebellion. The Court of Appeal also nullified the election ODM’s Silverse Anami Lisamula as MP for Shinyalu.

Speaking at a fundraiser in aid of St Mary’s Kachar Girls’ school in Homa Bay County, Dr Kidero said ODM and Nyanza politicians should support Jared Okelo   (Ford Kenya) for Nyando parliamentary seat and Zachary Obado of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Migori gubernatorial position in case the Supreme Court rules that there should be by-elections in the two areas.

Kidero said both Okelo and Obado were originally members of ODM but were forced to quit during the party’s chaotic 2013 primaries. The polls were a source of open rebellion in the party.

Kidero said  the party supported Steve Kariuki for the Mathare mini- polls because the court ruled in his favour after having petitioned the election of the former area MP George Wanjohi.

“Like we did in Mathare, ODM should support Jared Okello in the Nyando by-election since he is the one who took the petition challenging Fred Outa (former MP) to court,” he said.

Kidero further urged Nyanza leaders to support Obado whose election was nullified, to recapture his seat following his development record.

“We should support Obado if we want development in this region,” Kidero said.

Kidero’s declaration is likely to spark a heated debate not only in Nyanza but also within the Orange party.

His sentiments complicates ODM’s fortunes in Nyando after a section of youthful MPs in the region  warned the party against allowing Outa to contest, saying he is not popular.

Raila returns from his month-long tour of the US amid simmering revolt in his party and competing interest pitying him against his two co-principals in the opposition Cord Coalition.

And the emergence of regional parties in Nyanza and Western, coupled with Kalonzo Musyoka’s recent signs that he plans to gun for the presidency in 2017, further clouds matters.

Friday, Raila’s allies called for unity in ODM following signs of rebellion. However, others said the emergence of regional parties had strengthened Raila’s position as a reliable leader.

Raila has been attending events in various institutions organised by the African Presidential Centre based in Boston, Massachusetts. However, he will have to contend with many challenges including open rebellion in his Nyanza backyard that is being waged by Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno.

But as he scoffed at Dalmas over his latest move, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo maintained that the former PM remains the de-facto leader of the community.

He dismissed as rumours that Siaya Senator James Orengo and himself were leading a revolt against Raila adding that they only expressed displeasure at the way the ODM polls were being organised.

“That was pre-election and we are in post-election. We can’t cry over spilt milk,” he said

“He (Raila) is our leader and the fact that we did not go to Kasarani cannot make us rebels forever.”

He dismissed Dalmas as ‘a man forcing himself to dream’ insisting that Luo Nyanza is homogeneous region which cannot be divided either as South or Central.

There have been fears that Dalmas bid which is believed to have Kidero’s backing, and the Jubilee Government could divide the region into two.

“Everybody has a democratic right to form a political party,” noted Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

“However, if the sole objective is to create divisions within the Luo Community, we shall frustrate it to the maximum,” Wandayi said.

He said the era of forming ‘tribal parties for bargaining purposes is long gone’.

However, Raila’s chance in 2017 is further complicated by the current dilemma in Cord over who would be the opposition’s presidential flag bearer.-standardmedia.co.ke

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