Barasa, Otuoma struggle to prove loyalty to ODM

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and his Busia counterpart Paul Otuoma have recently been reduced to defending their dalliance with President William Ruto’s government as they fight to be viewed as loyal to their party boss Raila Odinga.

Otuoma particularly found himself between a hard place and a rock when ODM members dared to stop him from addressing them and registering as a member of the party some two weeks ago before his party boss who was in Busia County to roll out a mass registration drive.

Last Sunday when he hosted Ruto at yet another church function in Teso, the first-time governor said he was at liberty to cross party lines for the sake of Busia people and that such a move did not amount to disloyalty.

“I am in ODM but that doesn't limit me from crossing over to work with the national government to realise development, especially on national government-initiated plans like that of setting up industrial parks across counties,” he said. "Mine is a development alliance with the ruling coalition."

He added that other projects like the Malaba water treatment plant which is projected to serve some 80,000 households, up from 17,000 needed joining hands with national government to complete.

Despite 'disowning' government sympathiser tag, Otuoma's ways have not particularly gone well with ODM hardliners who have interpreted it as betrayal.

Their dissatisfaction with the "development alliance" with the national government reached fever pitch during the mass party registration drive where they not only heckle Otuoma down but also wanted to bar him from registering as a member of the party.

It took Raila’s intervention in one of the meetings in Teso to cool down the youth who were baying for Dr Otuoma's blood.

“He is my son, if he has wronged you I will give him a few strokes and he will return to the right path,” Raila told the crowd jokingly.

In Kakamega, Barasa has left his deputy Ayub Savula a better orator than himself to do the defending on his behalf after getting a tongue-lashing from ODM Deputy party boss  Wycliffe Oparanya for his alleged dalliance with Ruto.

By AFP 10 hrs ago
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