Raila overruled ODM officials to pick Moses Kajwang’ for Homa Bay seat

Raila overruled ODM officials to pick Moses Kajwang’ for Homa Bay seat
Raila overruled ODM officials to pick Moses Kajwang’ for Homa Bay seat

Cord leader Raila Odinga insisted on Moses Otieno Kajwang’ as the best bet for the Homa Bay senatorial seat despite alternatives offered to him by party officials, the Sunday Nation can now report.

Mr Odinga brushed aside any other suggestions presented by his advisors and party officials arguing that the young Kajwang’ would present the best chances for the party after he dropped out of the race.

The move has sparked off rebellion by some aspirants with former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi mobilising a protest vote against Mr Odinga’s candidate over what he terms as wide betrayal by the ODM.

On Saturday, the rebellion against Kajwang’ was tightening further after Mr Odinga’s long time aide Silas Jakakimba decamped to the United Democratic Movement Party of Kenya.

Senior Luo Nyanza politicians including Siaya Senator James Orengo and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo were unusually sidelined in the entire nomination process as Mr Odinga and two of ODM’s most powerful officials John Mbadi (Chairman) and Junet Mohammed (Director of Elections) designed the party’s strategy for the Otieno Kajwang’ succession.

The former PM’s other advisors included former diplomat Mr Elkanah Odembo, Prof Oyugi Akongo and Oduor Ong’wen among others.

Asked about how he felt about the ODM nomination, Mr Midiwo stated: “I have not been very keen on it, I think the new party officials will explain better.”

Though mainstream party leaders wanted Mr Kajwang’s successor picked through direct nomination, the game plan only changed after Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba insisted on either a collegiate or election by universal suffrage.

‘MEN IN BLACK’

The move led to an attempt to conduct a nomination through the delegates system, which was staged in Homa Bay town but was disrupted by hooligans.

“I told them from day one that it was going to be difficult to conduct elections in the county. We had no genuine delegates list and the best option would have been direct nomination,” said Mr Mbadi.

Some of the party leaders asked for total adherence to the criterion announced by the party’s National Elections Board in which Mr Okundi beat the other six aspirants followed by Mr Odinga’s former Chief of Staff Caroli Omondi and Mr Kajwang in the third place.

“We asked that the ticket be given to either Mr Okundi or Mr Omondi but Mr Odinga insisted that he was getting too much pressure from the late Kajwang’s father that he was feeling it was better to honour the Nyakwamba’s for their loyalty,” said a top party official who witnessed the unfolding intrigues.

Several meetings were held at Mr Odinga’s Capital Hill office and others at the Serena Hotel and the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation before Mr Odinga overruled everyone.

Members of Mr Odinga’s think tank initially appeared to have differed over which candidate to support. Mr Namwamba was keen on either Mr Omondi or Mr Jakakimba while Mr Mohammed favoured any candidate from Suba. Dr Oburu Oginga insisted on Mr Okundi.

On Saturday Mr Mohammed said that despite the issues around the nomination, the ODM family must come together to ensure victory in the by-elections.

PLEAD WITH SUPPORTERS

“Today we will be rolling out campaigns for Mr Kajwang’. The caravan will begin from Chabera to Oora Chuodho and we plead with party supporters to join us,” Mr Mohammed said.

Though Mr Okundi enjoyed the favour of Mr Odinga’s elder brother, Mr Odinga was not keen on him due to an anticipated Suba rebellion if the 2013 pre-election pact among the eight constituencies was by passed.

But Mr Okundi on Saturday dismissed talks of an existing power sharing deal, saying no voter was ever consulted on the matter.

“What power sharing deal? When we had the premiership, the only minister from Homa Bay County was Otieno Kajwang. When Orwa Ojode died his replacement was John Mbadi. Our equivalent of Francis Muthaura then was Caroli Omondi, the powerful personal assistant at the PM’s office was Silas Jakakimba and the only nominated MP from Nyanza was one Millie Odhiambo all of them came from one village in Suba,” Mr Mr Okundi said.

The former Rangwe MP said he is bitter that ODM leaders decided to shortchange him even after it emerged he was the clear front runner and despite his material and political support for the party.

Mr Okundi, who has joined the Maendeleo Democratic Party, now joins Mr Hillary Alila, an independent candidate in pushing the voters against the ODM tide.

And Mr Jakakimba accused ODM of having abandoned its own rules by nominating a candidate he claimed was unpopular and unknown in the county.

“ODM chose the easier route of awarding its certificate to my brother Moses Kajwang’, purely based on no criteria at all, and if any, pedestrian at best. It alleged to have done an ‘internal popularity survey’ which no one has seen,” Mr Jakakimba said.

Mr Alila said he has already been presented with a symbol and he working on an elaborate campaign strategy.

“We nearly beat his step brother Otieno Kajwang’ in 2013. We are sure of turning the tables against him because we have the people’s support. My symbol is a buffalo also known as jowi in vernacular. I want to tell my supporters to know that jowi is coming,” said Mr Alila.

BOW OUT

Mr Omondi, Dr Kenneth Kambona and Mr George Mboya, who had also sought the ticket have bowed out of the race but swore support for ODM.

Mr Mboya said he will support Mr Kajwang’ while Mr Omondi, even as he dismissed the nomination as a sham, promised to continue supporting the party.

Three MPs from the county together with County Women Representative Gladys Wanga, Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul) and Augustinho Netto (Ndhiwa), and Opondo Kaluma (Homa Bay Central) declared they will support Mr Kajwang’.

“Even though the nomination was shambolic, the party now has a candidate and I am in ODM so I will support the party’s choice,” said Mr Netto.

And Mr Magwanga said: “We do not expect serious opposition. The ground is still ODM and anyone opposing it will face the wrath of the people.”

MPs James Rege (Karachuonyo), Sylvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul), George Oner (Rangwe) and Milly Odhiambo (Mbita) are yet to declare support for any of the candidates.

The by-election occasioned by the abrupt death of Senator Otieno Kajwang’ will be held on February 12.

nation.co.ke

 

Raila overruled ODM officials to pick Moses Kajwang’ for Homa Bay seat

- Advertisement -

Comment on the article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

%d bloggers like this: