How Oimeke won hotly contested Bonchari seat
Robert Ochoro and Hillary Mageka
Strong support by the youth, resistance to police harassment of key Kisii leaders and the Handshake have been cited as among the factors that handed Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Pavel Oimeke victory in the Bonchari by-election.
Party leader Raila Odinga, said the win in the just concluded by-election was clear demonstration of the unwavering support the party enjoys in the region.
“Governor James Ongwae, the Kisii ODM team, the Abagusii community and the entire family of ODM, kazi mzuri,” Raila said in a tweet yesterday.
Oimeke garnered 8,049 votes against Jubilee’s Zebedeo Opore who had 7,279 votes. UDA candidate Teresa Bitutu managed 6,954 votes. The voter turnout was 50 per cent with 26,526 total votes cast.
The seat fell vacant following the death of former MP the late John Oroo Oyioka.
According to Kisii ODM chairman Ondieki Okerosi, party supporters voted for Oimeke in solidarity with Ongwae, Senator Sam Ongeri and Woman Rep Janet Ong’era, who had been harassed by police, an act blamed on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matian’gi.
“Party officials, leaders and supporters believe in the leadership of Raila,” said Okerosi.
The official noted Oimeke is the first and only ODM elected MP in Kisii County since none was elected in the 2017 save for the county’s top leaders- governor Ongwae, senator Ongeri and Ong’era and several Ward Reps.
“I thank the Bonchari people for giving us the first MP. I urge him to work and fulfill the pledges he made during the campaigns to improve their lives,” Kerosi said.
The Orange party had condemned last week’s police raid at Ongwae’s home during which he was hosting Ong’era and Ongeri for dinner, saying it was an act of intimidation.
The three Kisii leaders had also accused Matiangi of using police to intimidate them in favour of Jubilee candidate Opore and.
Yesterday, Oimeke thanked God, ODM leaders, MCAs, voters and former area MP Charles Onyancha for helping him win the seat.
“There was a huge deployment of police. You cannot force people against their will. It has to prevail” Oimeke said shortly after he was declared the winner.
On his part, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna thanked the Bonchari campaign team led by Senator Ongeri, Ongwae, On’gera, ODM national treasurer Timothy Bosire, MPs and MCAs who doubled as agents for their support.
“That teamwork and courage helped us surmount innumerable challenges. Oimeke it is!” Sifuna tweeted.
Ongwae said the ODM win demonstrated that the power of the ballot carries the day: “No doubt that it is unnecessary to cause mayhem to peaceful Kenyans who are exercising their democratic right through our uniformed officers.”