Ugenya, Embakasi by-elections lesson to ODM candidates

In Summary

• Why does ODM conduct shambolic, careless and violent nomination in its stronghold areas?

Former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra casts his vote during the by-election on Friday, April 5, 2019
Former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra casts his vote during the by-election on Friday, April 5, 2019

Many political parties have failed to respect and live by the wish of electorates. ODM is one of the parties which have been witnessed conducting shambolic nominations characterised by assaults, insults and loss of lives.

In 2007, ODM nominations were linked with deaths of some of its followers across the country, in 2013 and 2017, the same unfortunate loss of lives and destruction of properties were a spectacle in ODM primaries.

Why does ODM conduct shambolic, careless and violent nomination in its stronghold areas?

First, ODM aspirants are always assured of victory in the subsequent parliamentary elections after the party primaries. Second, some people believe ODM nominated candidates enjoy the benefits of the party resources for the main election campaign. Third, They believe Raila supporters cannot be tempted to shame 'Baba' by voting against his party. Some ODM officials have lived by poor the narrative that whoever is endorsed by 'Baba' in his political tough regions cannot lose. They have been relying on the political shadows, favor and strength of 'Baba' with the assumption that standing behind him or mentioning his name in press conferences is enough tool to win.

The above reasons have plugged some ODM officials both at county and national level in a pool of conducting incredible nominations without fairness and transparency. For a very long time, ODM has been blamed for heavy briberies at the party headquarters for issuance of nomination certificates. Many politicians, who have been members of the party before, have raised bitter protests against the manner in which the party handles some candidates before, during and after nomination. However, the party national governing councils have never woken up to seek redress of the malpractices within the party.


For instance, in Ugenya constituency, David Ochieng is alleged to have won the ODM parliamentary nomination in 2017 but because he could not raise huge millions to secure a nomination certificate, he was denied his political right and his closet challenger, Chris Karan, who is a relative to Saiya Senator James Orengo, was given the nomination certificate. In Malindi, Aisha Jumwa is alleged to have lost the contest at the nomination level but because she paraded as one of the strong soldiers for 'Baba', she was handed the certificate and the winner of the nomination.  One MCA from Nairobi also was spotted crying along City Hall corridors complaining that he paid Sh3million to secure a nomination with ODM having strong faith that he would recover his money upon getting into the assembly. Apparently, Governor Sonko has sealed all the loop holes that the former could use to amass illegal wealth for recovery.

Ishrad Sumra also could not win Embakasi South April by-election because he was given his chance in 2013 but used most of his tenure standing behind Raila in press conferences and working hard for the party. He exposed the lives of Embakasi South people to a serious development threat. Sumra tried to make his party happy all the times that he neglected his constituents. Politicians must be reminded that the party does not vote and therefore does not need much of their attention. Politicians must give their electorates 100 per cent of their attention and serve them with passion, compassion and empathy. 

The people of Ugenya and Embakasi South spoke aloud to the political parties and their officials that power and sovereignty belong to all Kenyans regardless of their social, political or financial status. It is high time politicians woke up and began to conduct their businesses in accordance with articles; 10,38 and 81 of the Kenyan Constitution. The voice of the majority must always remain the main commander-in-chief to all and the voice of the minority in the political offices must sit and listen to the majority wish.


Congratulations to David Otieno and Julius Mawathe for clinching the by-election in Ugenya and Embakasi South constituencies respectively. The people have spoken in your favor, make use of their voice.