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Gloves off as titans scramble for Governor Anyang' Nyong'o's seat

By Harold Odhiambo | November 16th 2021

A political storm is gathering in Kisumu as campaigns begin in earnest to unseat Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o (pictured).

Among those who have thrown their hat in the ring are former Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura, former Governor Jack Ranguma, Senator Fred Outa, businessman Ochola Kamili and former County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo.

In the 2017 elections, Nyong’o mounted a strong campaign to unseat Ranguma. A replica is expected in next year's polls.

Political temperatures are already rising, with some hopefuls building their campaign war chests ahead of the next General Election.

Nyong’o has been busy strengthening his grassroots support by completing several projects he initiated as he seeks to convince the region to give him another term in office.

In the last couple of weeks, those keen on unseating Nyong’o have been seeking to build an alliance against him.

The Standard has established that talks are ongoing between the candidates to field a single candidate to face Nyong’o at the ballot, but it remains unclear who will shelve their ambitions.

The governor hopefuls have turned some of the controversies that have dogged Nyong’o’s administration, including the demolition of some businesses, into their campaign tools.

At the weekend, Obura said he is in the race for the long haul, adding that he was ready to upset Nyong’o in the polls. He took his campaigns to three constituencies.

He claimed the current regime has made the life of several small-scale traders difficult and faulted it for failing to provide the traders with alternative sites after evicting them.

“Nyong’o has not done anything for the people of Kisumu. We have to send him home,” said Obura.

According to him, failure to complete some projects, including the construction of Kibuye market, clouded the performance of the current regime.

Ranguma, on the other hand, is banking his hopes on some of the networks he developed during his first term in office to recapture the seat.

An outfit dubbed Kisumu Diaspora, led by politician Milton Obote and Onyango Oloo, has also vowed to front a candidate to challenge Nyong’o.

About two weeks ago, Oloo declared that he would be on the ballot, saying his campaign will be issue based.

“I am going with Nyong’o to the ballot and will not relent in my ambition to bring transformation to Kisumu people,” he said.

Among the issues that have formed the basis of the aspirants' discontent with Nyong’o’s administration is the massive demolitions in the city that affected both friends and foes.

Senator Outa has also been waging a campaign against Nyong’o and is keen on unseating a person they campaigned with in the 2017 polls.

Their friendship was short-lived, as they broke up shortly after winning the 2017 elections, with Outa accusing Nyong’o of mismanaging the county.

Despite their resolve, unseating Nyong’o could prove not to be a walk in the park, given his relentless efforts in implementing some projects and his stature in ODM.

Nyong’o’s administration is banking on the transformation he has made in the county to market his bid. The governor has several allies within the ODM circles and at the County Assembly.

According to Kondele MCA Joachim Oketch, Nyong’o is the best bet for the county.

“We are backing professor for another term in office. He has initiated several development projects,” said Oketch.

Apart from the city beautification programme that has improved the city’s infrastructure, Nyong’o is also hoping that his efforts to transform the health sector will woo the voters.

During the first three years in office, the governor invested heavily in the health sector.

The development has seen the infrastructure of the county’s largest referral hospital, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), upgraded, raising its stakes to become a level 6 hospital.

His administration has installed an oxygen plant at the facility. The plant can produce 600 litres of oxygen per minute.

The infrastructure of other sub-county facilities has also been improved.

Just like in previous polls, clannism and party politics in the seven sub-counties are expected to play a role in influencing who leads the county after the 2022 General Election.

In the 2017 polls, Nyong’o's political card entailed selecting his deputy from Nyakach while banking on his friend-turned-foe Outa to rally the vote-rich Kano region to back his bid.

“In 2013, we elected a governor from Nyando while in 2017, we elected a governor from Seme. This time around, the county should support a governor from Kisumu Central,” said Obura.

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