Quit Homa Bay senate race, Raila Odinga tells rivals
ODM leader Raila Odinga on Thursday asked rival candidates to step down in favour of party nominee Moses Kajwang’ ahead of the Homa Bay senatorial by-election on February 12, or face the voters’ wrath.
Mr Odinga, who was addressing his first public event since the burial of his son, Fidel, toured Homa Bay and dismissed critics who had cautioned him not to step there, saying he has a right to campaign in any part of the country.
Rachuonyo MP James Rege and his Rangwe counterpart, Mr George Oner, had on Tuesday told Mr Odinga to keep off Homa Bay affairs, saying the residents should be left alone to choose their senator.
The ODM leader, however, was given a tumultuous reception in the county and campaigned for Mr Kajwang’, who presented his nomination papers to the electoral commission.
“It is my right as the party leader to campaign for Moses Kajwang’ here in Homa Bay. If people like Phillip Okundi and Fred Rabongo really love me as they profess to the people, let them do what Mr Caroli Omondi did by stepping down for our candidate,” he said.
He spoke shortly after one of the candidates, Mr Silas Jakakimba, of UDM, pulled out of the race, citing a security threat.
Mr Jakakimba, however, threw his support behind Mr Kajwang’.
Addressing journalists in Homa Bay on Thursday, Mr Jakakimba said the death of Fidel Odinga, whom he described as a “brother, political confidant and friend”, was one of the reasons for his decision.
“Under the circumstances and after wide, painful consultations and deliberations with my team, I wish — with all humility and gratitude to my supporters from across the county — to withdraw my candidature from the current contest,” he said.
The ODM elections board had overlooked Mr Okundi and Mr Rabongo in favour of Mr Kajwang’, prompting them and other candidates to defect to other parties.
Mr Okundi will contest the seat on Maendeleo Party of Kenya ticket, while Mr Rabongo will fly the National Agenda Party flag.