Janet Ongera faces fierce ODM primaries as 15 seek her seat

Kisii Women Representative Janet Ongera at Marani in Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

Fifteen aspirants have shown interest for the Kisii Woman Representative seat.

Among them are the 2017 candidates, among them the former legislator Sally Otara, who was floored Janet Ongera of ODM.

Others are a lawyer Maureen Moraa, radio journalist Dorice Aburi, who came second in the last elections, Bridgit Ombati, Norah Nyamwamu, former county Executive Peris Onsarigo, Evelyn Ogendo, Fontina Ngare, Doreen Bwari, Julie Nyanchama, Getrude Mogoi, Gladys Aunga, Risper Ndege, Rebecca Akemo and former Kenya National Union of Teachers official Lucy Machuki.

Ongera, who rescinded her plan to contest for the governor's seat, will face off with most of the aspirants at the Orange party nominations.

A staunch ODM supporter, she served as the director of elections in the run-up to the 2013 polls, leading to her nomination to the Senate where she was elected the party’s Minority Chief Whip.

“ODM is the most popular party in Gusii region. We have laid enough ground to ensure that we win both the presidency and majority elective seats in the region,” she says.

“Time has come for us to check what our leaders have done over the last five years. Let us examine their development agenda and how they executed it and pick only those who have good track records.”

Ongera says she is ready to face all her opponents on the ballot.

Moraa, 32, promises to fly the UDA ticket. “Anything that touches on society and humanity has been very close to my heart,” she says. “I have been actively involved in the governance and electioneering process by being an active member and leading various lobby groups that advocate for the Women and Youth Agenda.”

Machuki is banking on her experience leading teachers. “Thousands of teachers trusted me with the Knut leadership and I believe I have the experience to take up the position of a woman representative. I will declare my party soon.”

Donya, who has been campaigning alongside Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati for the county's top seat on ODM, says she has "hit the ground and I am ready for all my opponents.”

In the 2013 elections, Ombati vied for the seat through PDP and came second after Otara. She is now back and is also supporting the Arati team.

“I'm now an experienced politician and more than willing for the party primaries. There is a stiff competition, which means we will get quality leaders,” she says.

She promises enough water and to support the vulnerable.

Another ODM aspirant, Onsarigo says she is answering “a calling to serve our people" and pledges to push for progressive laws.

A counselling psychologist, Ogendo says 2022 will make or break the Kisii unity. “We need a friendly environment in the primaries and in the campaigns.”

In 2017, Mogoi, Mogoi vied on the Maendeleo Chap Chap party, Nyamwamu, a former Kisii County Public Service Board member, was in the Kenya Social Congress while Aunga rode on Safina ticket.