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Supremacy battle threatens ODM's hold of Gusii counties

By Stanley Ogwae | July 5th 2015
Nyamira governor John Nyagarama during a press conference in this file picture (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)

KISII: The spat between Nyamira MPs and Governor John Nyagarama has politically put CORD in an awkward position.

For a long time now, daggers have been drawn, as the lawmakers and the governor face-off over the running of the county affairs.

Although no such abrasions have been witnessed in neighbouring Kisii County, the developments in Nyamira could be a game changer for Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s ODM party in Gusii politics.

Already, ODM fortunes have dwindled in the region, going by results of recent by-elections.

ODM’s Chris Bichage lost the Nyaribari Chache parliamentary seat to TNA’s Richard Tong’i while FORD People’s Zebedeo Opore got re-elected following nullification of his election and the consequent by-election.

But what may worry the Orange party more is the cracks that have emerged in Nyamira.

MPs Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Charles Geni (North Mugirango) Dr James Gesami (West Mugirango), Alice Chae (Woman MP) have declared war against Nyagarama, accusing him of perpetrating graft, mismanaging county resources, nepotism and lack of professionalism among other issues.

The dispute took an ugly turn after hired goons stormed a meeting organised by the MPs at a Nyamira hotel, making it a near bloody affair.

Blame games ensued soon afterwards with the Governor and the MPs engaging in accusations and counter-accusations. The spat has led to fears that unity could elude the ODM leaders as 2017 approaches.

ODM chairman John Mbadi says tearing into each other in public is counter-productive. “We cannot rule out the fact that the leaders may be having their own personal differences. But issues of public interest should be discussed amicably,” said Mbadi. “Yes leaders may agree and disagree on various issues of governance but not to the extent of trading blows in the public,” argues John Ongeri, a political activist.

But Bosire insists that issues to do with accountability should never be brought close to party affairs.

“The current stand-off between MPs and Nyagarama is not a party affair and we should never view it as a danger to the party’s popularity because our integrity as elected leaders should manifest in how much we defend the truth and the interest of mwananchi,” argues Bosire.

Even with the contentment that all is well amongst the CORD leaders, Jubilee scouts are also busy marking in-roads into the heart of the Gusii.

Nyagarama has defended his track record, saying sideshows such as political affiliation are immaterial to the people of Nyamira.

“We need to focus on serving the people who elected us. And that is how we can build this county,” says he. Jubilee has four out of 12 parliamentary seats in Gusii.

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