ODM’s delicate balance in picking suitable county bosses in Nyanza

ODM leader Raila Odinga. Siaya is a county which the ODM party will want to win in all the seats. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

ODM party leader Mr Raila Odinga may be cautiously making his team of county bosses in Nyanza ahead of the August General Election. The party has been holding consensus meetings to pick suitable candidates to fly the party flag for the gubernatorial race.

In Siaya County, Mr Odinga will likely bank on Senator James Orengo. The defection of Mr Charles Owino and Mr Nicholas Gumbo to UDM means Mr Orengo will have an upper hand in the ODM party ticket ahead of the August 9, general elections.

Siaya is a county which the ODM party will want to win in all the seats since it is the home of Mr Odinga, its presidential flag bearer.

Mr Gumbo and Mr Owino moved to UDM citing frustration from ODM party officials. Mr Owino said he had been coerced to step down in favour of a preferred candidate. Mr Orengo will now battle it out with Mr George Mugoye in the ODM primaries.

In 2017, Governor Mr Cornel Rasanga was declared winner of the hotly contested race after he garnered 143,446 votes against Mr Gumbo’s 87,467. Mr Gumbo was an independent candidate.

Siaya Senator James Orengo. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]


In Kisumu, incumbent Prof Anyang Nyongo may be handed the ODM ticket to retain his seat. Last month, Senator Mr Fred Outa, former Kisumu County Speaker Mr Onyango Oloo and former governor Mr Jack Ranguma had resolved to back former Kisumu Central MP Mr Ken Obura to face Prof Nyong’o in the ODM nominations.

Mr Obura has urged ODM to uphold democracy by conducting free and fair nominations. Both Mr Obura and Mr Outa have in the past maintained that they will face Prof Nyong’o even if the latter is given a direct ticket.

Prof Nyongo’s deputy Mr Mathews Owili says the party should not waste money where there is a clear winner. “Such resources should be used prudently to campaign for our presidential candidate. We need support across the country and that can only be achieved if we mobilise properly.”

In Homa Bay, current Woman Representative Ms Gladys Wanga was given a direct ticket by ODM to contest the governor seat and succeed Mr Cyprian Awiti.

The party also reached a consensus to have former MP Mr Oyugi Magwanga to deputise Ms Wanga.

“All the seven contestants who were here agreed to step down and back Gladys Wanga as the party candidate in the Homa Bay County gubernatorial race. In the same spirit, they’ve also nominated her running mate as Oyugi Magwanga,” Raila said after meeting the Homa Bay leaders.

However, former Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero, who was Mrs Wanga’s opponent in the ODM nominations, opted to run as an independent candidate “because of pressure from the residents”. No other aspirant has expressed interest in the Homa Bay top seat, leaving the contest for Dr Kidero and Mrs Wanga. Mr Magwanga has since agreed to be Mrs Wanga’s running mate.

“It is common knowledge that consensus involves bringing all concerned parties together so that all of them agree. But I was not called for the meeting,” Dr Kidero said at Simbi Primary in Karachuonyo on Saturday.

Former Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero. [File, Standard]

In Nyamira, ODM National Treasurer Mr Timothy Bosire was issued a direct nomination. The party primaries were set for last week Thursday.

Mr Bosire, the party and aspirants had moved on from the crucial stage of party primaries. “We are ready for the battle. It is all systems go for the August General Elections,” he said.

Dagoretti North MP Mr Simba Arati will also have to wait until the last day to confirm whether he will be issued the ODM party nomination certificate. So far, the party has not issued any statement on whether the MP will receive a direct ticket despite having been the only aspirant to have sought the party ticket.

A few days ago, Mr Arati said he had fruitful deliberations with Mr Odinga on the party and the primaries. “The ODM machinery has a huge task of ensuring a fair and credible nominations’ exercise,” he said.

In Migori, the race is between Mr Odinga’s close allies Senator Mr Ochillo Ayacko and Migori Woman Representative Ms Pamela Odhiambo.

Ms Odhiambo and Mr Ayacko will face three other aspirants; businessmen Mr Philip Mwabe, Mr Robert Okong’o and former Mombasa executive Mr Seth Odongo in the April 13 party primaries.