Kisii Deputy Governor back to ODM after four-year dalliance with Ruto?

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi could be back to ODM after a four-year dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto.

Maangi skipped Ruto's trip to Kisii on Wednesday and was among the leaders who arrived early at Moi International Stadium Kasarani for the Azimio la Umoja convention today.

A Maangi comeback to ODM could tilt UDA's political fortunes in Gusii region and force the DP's party back to the drawing board.

It could also leave UDA with only two other Kisii governorship hopefuls; former MP Omingo Magara and Rachel Otundo.

His return to ODM could signal that he has patched up things with his boss - Governor James Ongwae, Senator Prof Sam Ongeri and Woman Representative Janet Ongera.

In a previous interview, the Deputy Governor maintained that the choice of a political party ahead of his 2022 governorship ambitions was not top of his list.

"I am the best-suited candidate to succeed my boss Governor Ongwae. Yes, we need political parties but people are looking at one's track record on top of the list. Our people have come of age, politically, to make the right decision at the ballot. I am sure I will succeed my boss," he said.

Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Insiders say Ongeri, Ongera and Maangi could be planning to work as a team and possibly share top county elective seats.

In a recent interview with The Standard, Maangi said he was in same team with Ongeri and Ongera in the Kisii County governorship race.

Maangi said he is focused on taking over from Governor Ongwae as the next Kisii Governor having understudied him for nine years and believed he was ahead of the pack for those seeking the ODM ticket.

The Deputy Governor insisted that he was in the ODM party to stay and had never defected and just like any other politician he had friends in other political parties which should not be misconstrued as disloyalty.

In 2013 and 2017, the Orange party used a working formula and clinched all the three county seats in a boardroom horsed-trading.

In 2013 and 2017, Ongwae and Maangi retained the Governor and Deputy Governor positions. Mary Otara and Chris Obure then both running on the ODM party won the Senate and Woman Representative seats.

In 2017, Otara and Obure ditched the party and the respective seats were won by Prof Ongeri and Ongera.

It will take time for top ODM leadership to resolve the emerging camps within the ODM with both Ongera, Ongeri and Maangi having announced their ambitions to succeed Governor Ongwae.

A week ago, while attending a church function in Kitutu Chache North, the three leaders agreed to work together saying they had no differences and that they could eventually agree during the party primaries.

Governor Ongwae reminded the three that they had all the democratic rights to go for any electives seats but ensure that they maintained peace.

Governor James Ongwae. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

"These are our sons and daughters. I will support whoever will have the ODM ticket. Let us not forget that we have a long journey ahead of us; that of ensuring that our party leader Raila Odinga goes to State House."

Should they get to the party primaries, then the three could face other leaders including Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati in the ODM party primaries.

Arati has maintained that he will not bow out of the race.

"There are those who claim to own the party, let them rest assured that I will be on the ballot."

However, according to Ongeri, the party structures must be respected. "We don't want to have individuals who insult those in leadership.

We have been here for long and we know what is right and wrong. There are those going round insulting us; yes, the party has its owners."