By RUSHDIE OUDIA
Nyando, Kenya: A storm is brewing in the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) over the impending Nyando parliamentary by-election.
Two top parties of the coalition are set for battle in pursuit of the seat. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya have both shown interest in the seat.
ODM lost the seat, which was until Friday last week held by Fred Outa, following a successful petition at the Court of Appeal by Ford Kenya’s Jared Okello.
A three-judge bench sitting in Kisumu nullified Outa’s election prompting a by-election.
It will be interesting to see how the two CORD principals will carry out their campaigns against each other.
In last year’s elections, Nyanza region was in shambles with the electorate keen on bringing down unpopular candidates, a move that forced Raila to use the six-piece campaign slogan to ensure ODM candidates were elected.
With the current change of political landscape in Nyanza, specifically in Kisumu, it will be difficult for a candidate to be imposed on the electorate. There is a possibility for other parties other than ODM to clinch the seat.
This will be tough for the party, which will have to go back to the drawing board and decide who will be their flag bearer in the parliamentary elections.
In a television interview recently, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba said it was high time CORD members stopped bickering among themselves as it was creating a leeway for their opponents to beat them.
Ford Kenya is likely to give Okello the ticket for a second time.
In ODM, there is already debate on whether Outa should be awarded a direct ticket or not.
He is already facing isolation by his colleagues who feel he is unpopular in the region and therefore should not be the party’s flag bearer.
The scathing attacks are set to continue especially from the youthful MPs who Outa claimed were paid to sabotage the party.
Last weekend, Kisumu Central legislator Ken Obura fired the first salvo by stating categorically that the party risks losing the seat if Outa is allowed to contest.
He said ODM should conduct nominations in the constituency and not favour anybody for the seat.
Other MPs like Mbita legislator Millie Odhiambo have also asked the party to be very cautious with the by-election since it is a litmus test for the party’s supremacy in the region.
Ford Kenya already has Kisumu West MP John Olago Aluoch who has said he will support their candidate for the by-election.
Olago admitted that CORD has a dilemma already between who to support as a coalition to prevent their opponents from winning.
He however said Nyando is so polarised because of the two rival camps that could give a third party an easy way to win the hearts of the electorate.
“If one emerges from the coalition, he would be the better option,” said Olago.