By James Omoro and Mangoa Mosota
The Ndhiwa MP-elect –Civil Society activist Agostino Neto Oyugi jumped over many thorny hurdles that almost shattered his ambition of becoming the youngest MP to represent the constituency since independence.
The County Weekly reveals the intrigues that characterised Mr Neto’s March to Parliament and how the ODM leader, Raila Odinga saved him from being locked out of the race.
Sources say it took rounds of secret meetings in Ndhiwa and Nairobi to save Mr Neto after a group of his opponents who lost to him during the party nominations piled pressure on the ODM headquarters to have him denied the nomination certificate.
At one time, when the pressure from the losers piled, the party even considered doing a repeat nomination exercise.
But intense lobbying by group of Professionals from Ndhiwa and some MPs led by Rangwe’s Otieno Ogindo and his Karachuonyo counterpart James Rege convinced Raila and Secretary General Anyang Nyongo that the nominations were fair.
Things worsened when the more than 20 nomination losers ganged up against Mr Neto threatening to campaign for his Kanu and TNA rivals.
This jolted the party, forcing Raila to hold a series of meetings with the losers to convince them to support Mr Neto. Many of them agreed but Mr Neto faced fresh hurdles when some of the aspirants obtained a court order stopping the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from accepting his nomination papers.
With only a day to the presentation of the papers, the case jolted Mr Neto’s campaign team and ODM.
“We risked having no candidate if nothing was done fast. We consulted widely and decided that Mr Neto must avoid being served with the court order. We agreed that he visits IEBC offices by 8 am to present his papers before the commission is served,” says Joshua Orero, a member of Ndhiwa professional think tank.
The trick worked well. Mr Neto managed to present his papers before the Court process servers could arrive in Ndhiwa.
Earlier, Mr Neto, 35 had survived another attempt to block him from running on an ODM ticket after a newspaper article linked him to a group of Civil Society activists who wanted Raila and several other Presidential aspirants barred from contesting the Presidency on ethics and integrity grounds.