Leaders differ on sharing of seats in 2022

Monday, November 4th, 2019 06:14 |
Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo, Samwel Atandi (Alego/Usonga), and Siaya Senator James Orengo in Siaya on Saturday. PD/ERIC JUMA

 By Eric Juma

Leaders in Siaya county are at loggerheads over how to share political seats in the 2022 General Election.

They differed on how the seats should be distributed between the six constituencies in the county, with some advocating for negotiated democracy, while others resisted the move.

The concerns raised by Senator James Orengo, Woman Representative Christine Ombaka and MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo) and Samuel Atandi (Alego/ Usonga), among others, comes even as grassroots officials claimed boardroom agreements have always been biased since the advent of devolution.

Speaking on Saturday at Misori Kaugagi Primary School in Alego/Usonga constituency during the burial of Lawrence Oduol Agane (father of Siaya politician William Oduol), some leaders claimed they had been shortchanged in the past by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) mandarins, who imposed candidates on the electorate.

Ochanda and politicians Odunga Mamba and Aggrey Onyango said residents will not accept resolutions made elsewhere and accused ODM party of “killing” Siaya through imposed leadership. Party Executive Secretary Oduor Ong’wen was also present during the burial.

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The Bondo MP recounted how in the run up to the 2012 elections, they were “ambushed with an announcement that the party had decided to nominate  the current East African Legislative Assembly member Oburu Oginga as the sole ODM candidate for governorship”.

He vowed he will not be party to talks convened to dish out seats to the various constituencies, and added that in 2022 residents must be allowed to elect leaders of their choice.

“We cannot accept a system that will install a leadership that will perpetuate the plunder of resources meant to develop our county,” said Ochanda.

Mamba, a constant aspirant for the Alego/Usonga seat, said ODM must learn to respect the wishes of the people and stop dishing out party tickets to the highest bidders, who “bribe party officials”.

Ong’wen and Orengo were at pains to defend the party, and assured residents that all will be well in the next general elections.

Orengo said every citizen who qualifies to vie for any seat will be allowed to do so, adding that no political seat will be reserved for any candidate.

“The question of some seats being reserved for candidates from certain regions does not apply. Let every qualified person from any constituency vie for any seat,” Orengo said.

 Meanwhile, the legislators called on the public to prepare for the Building Bridges Initiative report, adding that its recommendations, if implemented, will usher in a new leadership style that will unite Kenyans.

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