• Obado and Ruto had a meeting with officials from both UDA and the People Democratic Party -linked to Obado.
• Ruto has been rolling out an elaborate campaign targeting ODM leader Raila Odinga’s political strongholds.
Migori Governor Okoth Obado on Saturday publicly cut links with ODM as he hosted Deputy President William Ruto in Awendo town.
Obado was among Migori county leaders who received Ruto when he landed with a chopper at Sony Guest House in the compound of Sony Sugar Company mills ahead of a funds drive at Awendo Central SDA Church.
Obado and Ruto, among other local and national leaders allied to the DP's Tangatanga movement, had a meeting with officials from both UDA and the People Democratic Party -linked to Obado.
Other leaders who accompanied Ruto were Kuria West MP Mathias Robi, South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro, former Awendo MP and Migori public service board chairman Jared Kopiyo among others.
According to Ruto’s itinerary shared with the media, after the funds drive, Obado is expected to host the Deputy President for lunch at his rural home in Rapogi village in Uriri constituency.
Obado was elected on the Orange Democratic Movement ticket for his second term which ends in 2022. However, he decamped and returned to People Democratic Party, on which he won his first term.
In earlier public utterances, Obado denied any political links with Ruto and insisted his move to go back to PDP was meant to increase the democratic space in Nyanza and declared he was ready to vie for the presidential ticket.
However, politicians close to ODM leader Raila Odinga have always termed the governor’s recent move as being sponsored by the deputy president in a move to derail his State House bid.
Obado’s Saturday move comes only weeks after Raila attempted to solidify his Nyanza backyard with a meeting in Sikri, Homa Bay county to stifle dissent and get endorsement for his 2022 bid.
Obado missed the Sikri meeting, including other key functions by Raila and ODM party leaders in the area where leaders including ODM chairman John Mbadi and Migori senator Ochillo Ayacko have often told Obado off for bringing disunity.
On Friday, during a funds drive at Ageng’a Secondary School in Nyatike led by Mbadi, ODM leaders who spoke preempted the move by Obado.
“Ruto should not be cheated with crowds that turn up at his rallies in large numbers that they are all followers. Crowds do not determine votes. Winning the presidency is another thing,” Mbadi said.
Mbadi said as a party they were not shaken by Obado’s presidential bid, “as he cannot even go to Turkana county and call a rally that can fill a tent. We know he is out to wreck Luo unity.”
Suna West MP Peter Masara during a function in St Celestino Nyangubo Mixed Secondary weeks ago said Obado was out to scuttle Luo unity and instead “Obado is being funded by his political godfather Ruto to scuttle Luo unity, when he will come with the wheelbarrow we will marshal youths in droves to visit his money to take money which belongs to Kenyans.”
The move by Obado is a boost to Ruto's presidential bid, as the governor has been key in bringing on board to Tangatanga immediate former Awendo MP Jared Kopiyo who met Ruto days before the Saturday event at his Nairobi office.
Obado made Kopiyo the chairman of county public service board and will set out a race to pick key candidates in all elective posts in Migori with several other political allies and key figures.
Already his Trade executive Sheila Ghati is eyeing the Woman Representative seat, Water and Energy executive Rebecca Maroa eyeing the governor seat.
Migori has eight constituencies with six: Rongo, Awendo, Uriri, Nyatike, Suna East and Suna West predominantly controlled by ODM while Jubilee won both seats and presidential elections in Kuria East and Kuria West where the minority Kuria live.