Governor aspirants told consensus is best option
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya has appealed to aspirants in Kisii county to embrace consensus in picking a gubernatorial candidate.
There are at least four aspirants, who have declared interest to succeed outgoing Governor James Ongwae.
They are Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, Senator Sam Ongeri, Women Rep Janet Ong’era, Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure, who last week rejoined ODM.
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In what he termed as a bid to avoid costly nominations, Oparanya said primaries are expensive and by the time the exercise is over, contenders shall have spent a lot of money and will have no funds for campaigns.
Oparanya had earlier announced that the party would only use the nominations process as a course of last resort if aspirants fail to settle on one candidate.
“We do not want our aspirants to exhaust their resources during party primaries. We want them to save the funds and use them to campaign in winning the actual elections.
That is why ODM has come up with four methods of choosing its candidates,” he said, stating that the party would conduct free, fair and transparent nominations.
The second-term Kakamega governor was speaking on Sunday at Entanda ground in the Kitutu Chache North constituency during a funds-drive for Pentecostal Assemblies Churches.
Oparanya was accompanied by Governors Ongwae (Kisii) Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet). Also present were Ongeri, Ong’era and Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi.
“Ongeri, Maangi, Ong’era and (former South Mugirango MP) Manson Oyongo can be locked in a room, agree and give the party a gubernatorial candidate,” Oparanya said.
He, however, held that he was not sure whether Maangi was with the party after he was seen associating with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance.
Oyongo contested for the gubernatorial seat in 2017 through Kenya National Congress party but lost to Ongwae.
He has pledged to complete Ongwae’s projects, provide water, tarmac roads and increase bursary funds to at least Sh20,000 per learner.
He appealed to leaders in the Gusii community to unite and support Raila Odinga’s presidential bid and elect ODM aspirants. Ongwae told Arati to stop calling him Enkondi (con man), saying he has never been one.
“He is a darling of boda boda operators. Tell him votes are with elderly women and men. I want us to respect each other,” Ongwae said.
In a bid to reach a consensus on the governor race, Ongwae said he will liaise with Angwenyi, religious leaders and Members of the County Assembly from Kitutu Chache South and North to agree on whom among the ODM aspirants to support.
His sentiments were echoed by Ong’era, who said the county needed a just and experienced leader who respects and can work with others.
“Some leaders say, Janet, you are old, is my brain old?” Ong’era said as she urged Ongwae to be at the negotiating table and gun for a top job once Raila takes over as President.
She said herself, Ongeri and Maangi will deliberate and pick one of them to fly the party’s flag.