PARTY HOPPER

Former Raila's aide Owalo, man to beat in Kibra by-election

Eliud Owalo will contest Kibra by-election on an ANC party ticket.

In Summary

• Eliud Owalo blamed NASA leader Raila Odinga for his loss in the KIbra MP nominations and accused him of having "parochial political interests" in the area.

• Owalo was once Raila's aide but has been on a warpath with the family of the NASA chief, which he accused of planning to rig him out of a parliamentary race.

Eliud Owalo during a past rally in Kibra.
Eliud Owalo during a past rally in Kibra.
Image: /FILE

As ODM leader Raila Odinga was preparing for the 2013 presidential contest, one of the many lobby groups that supported his bid was Friends of Raila popularly known as FORA.

FORA was the platform through which Eliud Owalo plunged into national politics as a co-founder and secretary-general.

And with this, the Asembo-born management consultant secured a seat at the table of one of the country's most popular politician.

 
 
 
 

He moved from the lobby group to head Raila's 2013  Presidential Campaign serving as Head of the CORD Presidential Campaign Secretariat and Chief Campaign Manager to former Prime Minister.

Owalo fell out with Raila during the ODM primaries for Kibra at the 2017 elections and is now the candidate of another former Raila ally Musalia Mudavadi's ANC party.

Personal life

As a management consultant, Owalo is currently practising as the Managing Consultant of Eliud & Associates (E&A) Management Consultants, an international consultancy firm.

Owalo, a father of three married to Jacqueline Muga, served as a Student leader at St. Mary’s School, Yala during his A- Level studies.

He subsequently got actively involved in student politics during his undergraduate studies at Kenyatta University.

He holds a Degree in Economics from Kenyatta University and an MBA from the University of Nairobi.

 
 

Raila fall-out

Through FORA, Owalo and his colleagues kicked off a journey to deliver 10 million votes for Raila in the 2013 election.

 
 

Raila got just slightly above half  (5,340,546) the target against Uhuru Kenyatta's 6,173,433 sending the opposition to the Supreme Court seeking nullification of the TNA candidate's win.

After losing the petition against Raila, Owalo continued to work within Raila's circles but not without controversy.

He eventually fell out with Raila in the run-up to the 2017 elections after he failed to get the ODM ticket to contest for the Kibra Parliamentary seat, which was won by the late Ken Okoth.

Owalo, who found his name missing in the ODM register, blamed Raila for his loss in the ODM nominations and accused him of having "parochial political interests" in the area.

Last month, Owalo announced his resignation from ODM  saying his “political ideology, convictions and belief” are no longer in line with those of the party.

“It is with great regret that I write to inform you that I have with immediate effect relinquished my membership of the Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM).

“My resignation is informed by the fact that my political ideology, convictions and belief no longer has convergence or depict any congruence and common denominator with that of the ODM Party; its value-orientation and practices,” said Owalo in a letter addressed to ODM and the registrar of political parties.

After announcing his resignation from ODM, Owalo jumped ship to the Musalia Mudavadi-led party where he clinched the party ticket in no contest.

ODM supremacy wars

In 2013, Owalo was summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations accused of plans to destabilise the government.

The 11 allegations include mobilising youths to cause civil disobedience and chaos, using youths in slums for an alternative force and provoking police to cause a commotion. 

In 2014, Owalo was involved in vicious power wars with some ODM MPs including the party's then secretary general Ababu Namwamba and former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo

Raila was forced to intervene several times to save his party from disintegration.

Being an 'outsider', Raila's loyalists did not give Owalo room to manoeuvre without friction.

He was initially seen as an independent mind that lacked political ambition which made Raila trust him more than many around him.

Owalo will now face ODM's Imran Okoth and Jubilee party candidate Macdonald Mariga for the seat which was left vacant after the death  Ken Okoth who succumbed to cancer.

IEBC has scheduled the by-election for November 7, 2019.


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