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PARTY STILL STRONG

ODM leaders defend loss in Ugenya by-election

Gladys Wanga says the loss in a by-election was not an indicator the party was losing its grip in Nyanza.

In Summary

• Leaders argue that some Raila opponents want to use the by-election results to divert attention from the ongoing war against graft 

Homa Bay Women Representative Gladys Wanga.
Homa Bay Women Representative Gladys Wanga.
Image: FILE

ODM leaders say their party is still strong despite the twin loss in Ugenya and Embakasi South.

In Ugenya constituency by-election, David Ochieng’ of MDG won with 18,730 votes, followed by ODM’s Chris Karani who garnered 14,507 votes.

Daniel Juma of GDDP got 78 votes while Brian Omondi of Third Way Alliance got 27 votes.

On Saturday, leaders Mathews Owili (Kisumu Deputy Governor) Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay woman representative), Lillian Gogo (MP Rangwe), Ong’ondo Were (MP Kasipul) and party supporter Jared Kajomo defended the party despite the loss.

Wanga said the loss in a by-election was not an indicator the party was losing its grip in Nyanza.

Wanga, who is Homa Bay County ODM party chair, said they are not ready to engage their opponents on minor issues.

“The mini-election outcome in Ugenya should neither be used as a yardstick to measure the strength of ODM nor loss of grip by Raila in Nyanza region. Critics will be amazed when real time comes,” Wanga said.

Speaking during fundraiser at Nyahera Girls Secondary School in Kasipul, Gogo, Were and Owili argued that some Raila opponents want to use the by-election results to divert attention from the ongoing war against graft in the country.

“I appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila not to stop from keeping their eyes the fight against graft. We understand where all these celebrations about ODM by-election loss intend to lead us,” Gogo said.

Were added: "We want resources acquired through graft returned to the public coffers to enable Kenyans get development.”

Kajomo said the loss does not mean ODM cannot win election in future.

“In every competition there is a winner and loser. The fact that ODM lost in Ugenya is not an indicator of losing grip in its strongholds,” Kajomo said.

But Caroli Omondi now wants ODM party leadership to be overhauled saying this will accord the electorate opportunity to elect candidates of their choice during the party primaries.

Omondi, who also served as the chief of Staff of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, argued the current ODM leadership had formed a tendency conducting shoddy nominations to favour weak candidates.

“I congratulate David Ochieng’ for winning the seat. ODM should learn a lesson of being serious when it undertakes party primaries,” Omondi said. He said it is wrong for the party to issue tickets to candidates contrary to the will of voters during nominations.

“The party leadership should be overhauled so that we can get leadership that supports what people want during nominations,” he added. The Green Congress of Kenya (GCK) party leader Martin Ogindo said the election of Ochieng' is an indication that democracy is gaining roots in Luo Nyanza.

“Residents have started to realise that only development conscious leaders will change the economic status of the region but not political parties,” Ogindo said.