- In Homa Bay, ODM Chairman Mbadi is among those seeking to replace Awiti.
- Clan politics will be a major factor in both counties.
Close allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga are set to do battle for the governors' seats in Migori and Homa Bay counties in what would be a political nightmare for the Orange Party.
Political heavyweights, some with deep pockets, have publicly launched their campaigns, promising a do-or-die struggle.
In Migori, at least 10 aspirants want to succeed beleaguered Governor Okoth Obado who is staring at impeachment.
Despite his political and legal troubles - including a Sh73.4 million graft case - analysts say Obado will be a major factor in 2022 because of his broad and unyielding grassroots support.
He has wide support from numerous small communities, notably the Kuria, and his family ties have increased his support. As a sugar cane activist, the former high school principal also made many friends.
Among his prospective successors are former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga who is on the national NG-CDF board; his former Rongo counterpart Dalmas Otieno, a member of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission; as well as former Migori MP John Pesa who ran unsuccessfully for Suna East MP in the last two elections.
Also on the list are Migori Senator Ochilo Ayacko, Obado’s arch-rival; and Migori Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo.
Others are Migori county secretary Christopher Rusana, beleaguered speaker Boaz Okoth, businessman Owiso Ngao, former Mombasa CEC Seth Odongo and US-based academic Prof Mark Ogutu.
Analyst Nick Oluoch, a communications lecturer at Kisii University, told the Star on Wednesday Obado’s shadow will loom large in the 2022 polls, posing a challenge for his rivals, though he won't be on the ballot.
“Right now, Obado is in a political corner and he has been blaming Ayacko at every chance in public and the media over the impeachment motion. the two always trade accusations since their gruelling political duel in 2017. This will play out,” Oluoch said.
It is the contest in neighbouring Homa Bay county where ODM will have the toughest challenge as party chairman John Mbadi is running for governor. Nine other aspirants are salivating for the job.
Ayacko ran as an Independent in 2017 when he was floored by Obado who ran on the ODM ticket. Ayacko challenged the results up to the Kisumu Court of Appeal before he was given the ODM ticket in the Senate by-election after the death of Senator Ben Okello.
Anyanga, Dalmas, Odhiambo and Pesa at one time had very frosty relations with Obado but they warmed significantly, though Ayacko has remained hostile.
But it is the contest in neighbouring Homa Bay county where ODM will have the toughest challenge as party chairman John Mbadi is running for governor.
Nine other aspirants are salivating for the job.
They include Homa Bay Women Representative Gladys Wanga, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang and current Homa Bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata.
County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe, businessman Sammy Wakiaga, Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori and businessman Jared Otieno are also in the race.
In the 2013 contest, the county’s political elite divided the county into three regions and agreed to share power with respect to top three positions - governor, senator and women representative.
The regions included Rachuonyo, Homa Bay and Suba.
Governor Cyprian Awiti who comes from the Rachuonyo region was elected governor.
Aspirants from the larger Homa Bay region and Suba are insisting the deal should be respected, locking others out of Rachuonyo which is comprised of three constituencies — Kasipul Kabondo, Kasipul and Karachuonyo.
But chairman of the Lake Basin Development Authority Odoyo Owidi objects to the three-way deal.
“The Rachuonyo clan does not owe anybody a political debt in this county because we didn’t make any agreement to support a candidate from another clan after expiry of Awiti’s term,” Owidi says.
Back to Migori, the voter numbers in each of the eight constituencies as well as loyalty to ODM will also play a major roles.
They need to consolidate their base before even attempting to get the coveted ODM ticket, because in Migori we are cosmopolitan and the Orange Party is not a magic bullet as we campaign until votes are being counted, as you never knowFormer journalist and analyst Matiko Bohoko
Nyatike constituency, the political backyard of Anyanga and Odhiambo, has the highest number of votes at 61,477, according to the 2017 IEBC voter registration figures.
This is followed by Uriri (51,676 voters), Kuria West (51,057 ), Rongo (48,412 ), Awendo 48,293, Suna East (46,534), Suna West (46,030) and Kuria East 35,154.
Ayacko comes from Awendo while his perennial political rival Dalmas comes from Rongo.
There is also a push that the sugar belt region of Uriri, Awendo and Rongo already produced Obado and the governor post “should now cross River Oyani to Migori region".
In an interview with the Star, Anyanga said he has the experience and qualities to lead the county, citing his track record as two-term MP.
Anyanga’s wife Anne ran unsuccessfully twice for the governor's seat, which the ex-lawmaker says is an added advantage.
Anyanga is the only MP from Luo Nyanza who did not ditch ODM after losing the party nomination under controversial circumstances in 2017.
“That tells you I am a principled and a firm believer in ODM. It’s a manifestation that I can never go against Raila Odinga,” he told the Star.
Of all the aspirants, Odhiambo is the only woman to have shown interest in the job.
The academician hails from the Kolal subclan of larger Kadem clan in Nyatike.
She is married to Prof Romanus Odhiambo who is the vice chancellor of Meru University and whose home is in Suna West constituency.
In her first endorsement for the seat, Odhiambo turned to Suba elders for blessing, the first group she also sought support from in 2017.
“In the larger Suna and Suba region (Suna East, Suna West and Nyatike constituencies, I am the only strong candidate who will not only unify our bloc, but also seek mandate elsewhere,” the former don at JKUAT told elders.
MINORITY KURIA EFFECT
Political analysts say candidates who get the minority Kuria votes will have a headstart
“They need to consolidate their base before even attempting to get the coveted ODM ticket, because in Migori we are cosmopolitan and the Orange Party is not a magic bullet as we campaign until votes are being counted, as you never know,” former journalist and analyst Matiko Bohoko said.
He said since the onset of devolution, the community has only been fielding deputy governors, a precedent set by Obado.
Obado picked Kuria East politician Mwita Mahanga on the PDP ticket as his deputy to win and send a strong message against ODM’s Prof Edward Oyugi and Anne Anyanga.