ODM hands Gladys Wanga direct nomination certificate for Homa Bay governor race

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga, and former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero in dance at Asumbi Teachers College in Ragwe Constituency. [James Omoro, Standard]

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has picked Woman Rep Gladys Wanga to fly its flag for Homa Bay governor in the August 9 election.

Making the announcement today, party leader Raila Odinga said the move came after extensive consultations.

Raila said as a result, all the contestants had endorsed former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga as Wanga’s running mate.

“We have had a meeting with all the aspirants running for governorship in Homa Bay and through consensus, the seven have stepped down in favour of Wanga as the ODM candidate,” Raila said.

He said party rules provide for nominations through consensus, nominations by delegates, party members or a direct ticket by the party leadership.

Wanga and Magwanga will now put up a spirited fight in effort to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti who is finishing his second term.

The race to become the next Homa Bay governor is arguably the most competitive in Nyanza this year.

Those who were eyeing the seat include ODM chairman John Mbadi who last week announced he had dropped out of the race, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Awiti’s deputy Hamilton Orata and former County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe.

Others are Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori and businessmen Jared Kiasa.

Wanga is banking on her track record as a Woman Representative and as chairperson of the Finance Committee in Parliament. Observers also believe the gender card could play to her advantage, but she insists that she is a proven performer.

“My main aim is to transform Homa Bay into a devolution success story. My goal is to transform all sectors and revamp agriculture and fishing. I will also prioritise improving infrastructure,” she said.

Last week there were reports that several aspirants who paid millions of shillings for ODM nominations could be locked out of the exercise as the Raila Odinga-led outfit begun to issue direct tickets to popular candidates.

The party said had concluded conducting opinion polls to determine the popularity of those seeking its ticket and would use the outcome to issue direct tickets in certain elective seats.

It further emerged that the party was scouting for popular candidates from other political parties to hand direct tickets in its wider scheme to get more seats in the August 9 General Election.

The party will also issue direct tickets in areas with sole applicants.

It is only in areas where competition is stiff and aspirants have failed to reach a consensus that the party plans to conduct nominations through universal suffrage.

The party plans to stagger its primaries beginning next week Monday until April 21 and has since requested Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to provide security.