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It's do or die for Governor John Nyagarama as he faces opposition in ODM primaries

By Stanley Ongwae | February 28th 2017
Governor John Nyagarama

It will be do or die for Governor John Nyagarama in the ODM party primaries as he faces strong opposition.

The race for the county governorship heated up immediately West Mugirango MP James Gesami declared his intention to wrest the seat from Mr Nyagarama.

Now another aspirant, John Kumenda, has entered the race.

Owing to the history of clanism characteristic of Nyamira politics, Nyagarama and Dr Gesami, both of who come from the Abagirango clan, may have to share the spoils, leaving Dr Kumenda, the only candidate from the Abagetutu clan to sneak through.

The Abagirango have a voter base of around 120,000 while the Abagetutu have around 110,000.

Alternatively, Nyagarama will have to beat the two candidates, clan politics notwithstanding, to emerge as the ODM county flag bearer.

The governor seems to be more at ease contending with Kumenda than Gesami because of both clan dynamics and historical reasons.

Nyagarama, known for his non-commitment to verbal wars with opponents, has had to upgrade his style of sending political messages to his critics and rivals by taking Gesami on during political rallies and social events.

During a meeting with the press at his home last October, Nyagarama opened up regarding Gesami's political aspirations and said he was the only candidate who he could spare time to campaign against.

"What is the intention of him declaring interest in my seat this early, yet he has the constituency office that he should be concentrating on?" he questioned, adding that Gesami was being fronted by a league of local MPs and politicians who were antagonistic towards his leadership.

According to one of the governor's political advisers who did not wish to be named, it is Gesami's standing in ODM that has Nyagarama worried.


During the party's grassroots elections, Nyagarama did not seek any the seats neither did he present his preferred candidates for the various positions unlike Gesami, who positioned himself in all corners of the county.

It is believed that the ODM top leadership favours Gesami over Nyagarama.

However, the governor has been endearing himself to party leader Raila Odinga in the recent past, something observers say is a step towards edging out Gesami's suspected moves to pocket the party ticket in the primaries.

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