Derek Otieno and Noven Owiti
The entry of former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero into the Homa Bay governor’s contest has thrown a spanner in the works for candidates who have been aggressively campaigning for the seat.
The most notable is National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi and Homa Bay Women Rep Gladys Wanga who have been eyeing the post currently occupied by Cyprian Awiti who is serving his second term.
In a county where political mobilisation mainly revolves around clans and posts distributed along constituency lines, the monied Kidero’s candidature upsets the dynamics for Mbadi with whom they hail from the same Suba clan as well as Wanga who comes from Rangwe constituency like the former Nairobi county chief.
Matters are further complicated by the fact that Senator Moses Kajwang’ is also Suba.
Other candidates in the contest include Deputy governor Hamilton Orata, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, businessman Jared Kiasa, Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori and former Maseno School principal Paul Otula.
“I have been approached by locals as one of their sons to vie for the seat. It is something I am considering very seriously,” Kidero said.
“Homa Bay has lagged behind in development. The only favour we can do is to make it realise its economic potentials,” Kidero said at the weekend when he toured parts of Homa Bay County to drum up support for his ambitions.
The former governor told youths to refrain from politicians who incite them to cause chaos. He said misuse of youths is one of the reasons why many of them were jobless.
“You don’t expect someone to develop when they are misused. Our youths shouldn’t intimidate and embarrass others on behalf of their opponents,” he said on Saturday during his meet the people tour at various centres in the county.
He made a stop-over at Agoro Sare SDA Church in Oyugis before proceeding to Kendu Bay town in Karachuonyo and Posta grounds in Homa Bay town.
But Mbadi has dismissed Kidero’s claims that had shifted base from Nairobi at the invitation of Homa Bay residents.
Instead, he has challenged Kidero to name the residents he claims are pushing him to enter the Homa Bay governor race.
“It is his democratic right to contest the seat but the question many people ask is why he is running away from Nairobi?” Mbadi said.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairman vowed to soldier on with his quest and cautioned residents against voting for a governor likely to abandon them after the election.
“I don’t meddle with the matters touching on other candidates because it is the people of Homa Bay who will decide,” Mbadi said.
A detailed and updated campaign plan on the ground, a time-regulated programme currently being fine-tuned and an obvious transfer of machinery to a base in Kidero’s citadel in Asumbi completes the initial grounding of a plan so elaborate to ignore.
Businessman Sam Wakiaga who ran for the position during the last General Election has however not been open about another stab in 2022.
“The decision to run might be mine, but the electorate and the ODM party has structures to decide on who represents it at the elections,” said Wakiaga, for a long time touted as a challenger for the position.
But key Kidero supporters were emphatic that he will run for the post.
“Evans is in the race. There is nothing stopping him and there is no law in the country or Homa Bay County that says he cannot vie for the position. Any Kenyan who is accepted by the people of the great county of Homa Bay can run and even be elected,” Emmanuel Okello, Kidero’s close relative and strategist from Asumbi told People Daily.
Another insider Luke Omondi ‘Kadori’, the mobiliser at the heart of the Kidero campaign in Homa Bay and in Nairobi eight years ago told People Daily yesterday they will make a strong case for Kidero’s election.
Kidero’s candidature upsets the dynamics for ODM chairman John Mbadi with whom they hail from the same Suba clan as well as Gladys Wanga who comes from Rangwe.