Punish ODM aspirant for early campaigns, rivals tell electoral body

Some aspirants vying for the Homa Bay senatorial seat want action taken against the Orange Democratic Movement ( ODM) candidate for starting early campaigns.

They petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) not to favour any candidate.

The aspirants, who include Phillip Okundi, Silas Jakakimba and Fred Rabongo who decamped from ODM after the party directly nominated Moses Kajwang’, wondered why IEBC has allowed ODM to begin campaigns before the stipulated time.

Speaking to The Standard on phone, the aspirants threatened to move to court if the electoral commission does not stop the ODM candidate from campaigning.

“We held a meeting with the Homa Bay IEBC officials and the Registrar of Political Parties who took us through the electoral laws and assured us that campaigns for the seat will commence after January 15 after we present our nomination papers. We are shocked that the same IEBC has allowed ODM to start campaigning,” said Okundi, who is vying on a Mandeleo Party of Kenya ticket.

He added, “We are witnessing governors flout election laws by using county resources to campaign for ODM. I saw a governor in his official car in the convoy that was campaigning for Moses Kajwang. Clearly, this is wrong and we will not allow it.”

Tough times

Okundi told those discrediting his candidature to brace for tough times ahead.

“It is obvious that I am the frontrunner in the race; the voters should be given a chance to choose their senator without labelling other aspirants,” he said.

His sentiments were supported by Jakakimba who will now run on a United Democratic Movement (UDM) party.

“It was explained clearly that public campaigns must only commence after January 15, and that any public campaign before then, and after 27th December, may attract a disqualification of the candidate concerned should any constituent of Homa-Bay County lodge a complaint,” Mr Jakakimba said.

He threatened to move to court today to seek orders to bar the ODM aspirant from contesting in the by-election scheduled for February 2.

Jakakimba also challenged some of the legislators he accused of resorting to propaganda to undermine his candidature.

“The people of Homa Bay deserve an opportunity and a platform to grant electoral endorsement to whoever they believe stands a better chance to steer the county to prosperity,” he said.

The aspirants called on ODM to stop flouting rules and at the same time be on the forefront to call for fairness.

“It baffles us that ODM messes up nominations then goes ahead to give direct nomination to its preferred person. Thereafter it starts campaigning before the stipulated time,” said former National Social Security Fund Managing Trustee Fred Rabongo who decamped to National Alliance Party of Kenya.

Other aspirants also in the race include Prof Medo Misama, Aduke Ratimo and businessman Innocent Masara who are running as independent candidates.

The outcry comes after ODM leaders yesterday stared at the growing dissent as they traversed Homa Bay County to introduce their candidate for the area senatorial seat to the electorates.

The ODM caravan started at Chabera – the border between Kisumu and Homa Bay counties – making stopovers at major market centres within the region until it reached Aoro Chuodho in Mbita.

The move came a day after party leader Raila Odinga convened a meeting of Luo Nyanza leaders at a Kisumu hotel to strategise how to campaign for Moses Kajwang to capture the seat left vacant following the death of his brother Otieno Kajwang.

However, a rather lukewarm reception greeted the ODM MPs especially in Homa Bay town where former Okundi is believed to be enjoying massive support.

Magwanga is the chairman of the ODM county campaign team assisted by Mbadi, who is also the party’s chairman. They two will be assisted by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and Wandayi.

The leaders pleaded with the residents to back Moses to complete the term of his late brother.

At Oyugis centre, Ms Wanga was shouted down when she made remarks some residents considered undermined the candidature of Okundi, when she allegedly referred to him as an old man.

The ODM MPs had a difficult time controlling rowdy youths who chanted names of non- ODM candidates during the poorly attended road shows, especially at Kendu Bay and Homa Bay.

Some of the ODM officials from the Homa Bay branch also skipped the event and clarified that they were not supporting Kajwang.

Speaking to The Standard, branch Vice Chairman Charles Ong’ondo said: “We are supporting an independent candidate because we are tired of the party’s tendency of imposing unpopular candidates on the people.”

Four ODM MPs from the region, including James Rege (Karachuonyo), George Oner (Rangwe), Agustinno Netto (Ndhiwa) and Millie Odhiambo (Mbita) were absent.

The legislators who are yet to declare the candidate they are supporting in the race also skipped the secret strategy meeting convened by Raila on Friday, raising speculations that they could be supporting a candidate outside ODM.

The unfolding events signalled tough times for the Orange party, considering that the region is its stronghold.

However, at the gathering, the ODM leaders exuded confidence that the party would clinch victory and urged the electorate not to be misled by “those sent by our political enemies”.

Mbadi said Homa Bay was an ODM stronghold and should elect a candidate from the Orange party in the by-election slated for February 12.

Kaluma accused some of the aspirants of working with ‘external forces’ to weaken ODM’s chances of capturing the seat.

“All contestants agreed on direct nomination knowing the party had only one certificate to give. Why turn around and complain? Let’s all unite to defeat external forces seeking to divide our people,” he said.

The leaders also appealed to some of the youthful MPs from the region believed to be supporting a non- ODM candidate to change tack and join other party members in supporting Kajwang’.

The other politicians who were eyeing the seat on ODM ticket including Caroli Omondi, Dr Kenneth Kambona and businessman George Mboya have since quit the race.


Some of the legislators were heckled and denied a chance to address locals at Kadongo and Sikri market centres, as some of the residents shouted the name of Alila, who is vying as an independent candidate.

ODM MPs at the event included John Mbadi (Suba), Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul), Opondo Kaluma (Homa Bay town), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay Woman Representative), Fred Outa (Nyando), Sylvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul) and TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka), Aduma Owuor (Nyakach), Oburu Oginga (nominated), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja).

Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga later joined the team at Ringa market.