BIG GUN, BIG MONEY

Kidero's likely run for governor causes tremours in Homa Bay

Wanga's chances would be greatly compromised if Kidero jets into race for governor, as both come from Rangwe

In Summary

• Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga, ODM chairman and Suba South MP John Mbadi and Senator Moses Kajwang are  anxious due to the probability of Kidero's bid

• Other possible contenders for governor are Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, businessman Jared Kiasa and Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori.

Homa Bay ODM party delegates Governor Cyprian Awiti, Senator Moses Kajwang, woman rep Gladys Wanga and MPs Adipo Okuome (Karachuonyo), Eve Obara (Kabondo Kasipul) in Sikri, Oyugis on December 11.
ODM LEADERS: Homa Bay ODM party delegates Governor Cyprian Awiti, Senator Moses Kajwang, woman rep Gladys Wanga and MPs Adipo Okuome (Karachuonyo), Eve Obara (Kabondo Kasipul) in Sikri, Oyugis on December 11.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

The probable entry of Evans Kidero into the Homa Bay governor's race has caused jitters among politicians who have interest in the seat.

Kidero, the former Nairobi governor known for deep pockets, said he has been approached by a number of residents to come back home and seek election.

The ODM man ran Nairobi from 2013 to 2017 but was defeated by Mike Sonko in 2017. Other ODM aspirants are understandably worried and some analysts say they are right to panic.

Some are starting to bash Kidero.

Talk about Kidero is widespread in Homa Bay since he recently announced he was keen on succeeding Governor Cyprian Awiti in 2022.

Social media is also awash with discussions about Kidero, with some residents supporting him and others opposing the former Mumias CEO.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, ODM national chairman and Suba South MP John Mbadi and Senator Moses Kajwang' are already nervous following Kidero's statement.

Each has declared interest in the governor's seat.

The case of nerves became apparent during the Homa Bay ODM delegates meeting at Sikri Technical Training Institutes Oyugis town when Wanga and Kajwang' dismissed Kidero.

Wanga, ODM's chairperson in the county, said the party will not allow people with flip-flopping support to take over Homa Bay's leadership.

She and Kidero hail from Rangwe.

She said they have struggled to popularise at the grassroots and will not allow "non-committal" party members to displace serious ones. Wanga described such people as wolves in sheep's clothing.

“We know those who have remained steadfast with this party. Homa Bay is not a place for consolation when your interest is not satisfied elsewhere,” she said.

Wanga described the meeting as Sikri Two after the first one called by Senator Otieno Kajwang' in October 2014. He died on November 14 of that year. 

During Sikri One, Kajwang', then ODM chairman, called on party boss Raila Odinga to save it in Homa Bay from people he claimed had hijacked it. Kajwang' described them as moles.

This came after former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo held a parallel ODM delegates meeting where he took over from Kajwang’ as the party chairman in Homa Bay.

Kajwang’ had accused Kidero and former Karachuonyo MP James Rege of using Ogindo to stage a coup and destroy ODM in Homa Bay.

Wanga said they held the meeting at Sikri to enable them speak with one voice and be in solidarity with members who have stood firm with the party.

“No frustrations will be allowed in the party. We have resolved that Homa Bay is and remains an ODM zone, the party will strengthen at all levels,” she said.

The three are not the only aspirants for the governor's seat. Others are Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, businessman Jared Kiasa and Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori.

Before Senator Kajwang' began addressing the delegates, he sang a song, Bado Mapambano, which was popular with his late brother Otieno.

He later cautioned ODM youths and supporters against associating with politicians who are opposed to Raila's ideology.

“Let youths in Homa Bay stay away from the politicians who only come close to Baba (Raila) when they want to benefit,” Kajwang' said.

During the meeting, Orata said his eyes are fixed on succeeding Awiti in 2022.

“We know ourselves as Homa Bay party members. We shouldn’t let the leadership go to outsiders after 2022,” Orata said.

Last Sunday, Mbadi challenged Kidero to name the residents he claims wants him to enter into Homa Bay governor race.

The minority leader in the National Assembly urged residents to ask Kidero why he wants to leave Nairobi.

“It’s his democratic right to contest the seat but the question many people ask is why he is running away from Nairobi,” Mbadi said.

The ODM chairman pledged to soldier on with his gubernatorial quest and cautioned residents against voting in a governor who will not give them attention after election.

 “I don’t meddle in other aspirants say because it’s Homa Bay people who will decide,” Mbadi said.

Political commentators Samuel Owida and Patrick Agwagra say Wanga, Kajwang' and Mbadi are right to panic about Kidero.

Owida says that Kidero is moneyed, a philanthropist and can mobilise campaign machinery better than his opponents should he decide to vie.

Most elections are decided by money, he observed.

“The lightweight politicians whose pockets are shallow must fear Kidero. They find everything possible to keep him at bay,” Owida says.

He adds that Wanga's candidacy would be greatly compromised if Kidero jets into the Homa Bay race.

He says both hail from Rangwe and says Wanga should pray hard for Kidero not come to Homa Bay.

“Wanga will automatically remain without a political support base unless she decides to go for Rangwe MP,” he says.

Agwagra, however, says Kidero may not win the governor's seat if he does not get Raila's blessing.

He says should ODM conduct credible nominations and give the ticket to the people's choice, the party’s nominee will win.

“This is an ODM stronghold. Most of the time candidates with the party ticket are voted in, hence, Kidero should strive to get the ticket,” Agwagra says.

On Wednesday, MPs Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) and Millie Odhiambo advised the aspirants not to fear Kidero.

They asked them to sell their policies to residents as the best candidate can get elected.

Kaluma, who is the ODM organising secretary, called for unity and working together in the party.

He said possible entrance of Kidero would provide residents with variety of candidates for residents to choose from.

“What ODM officials in Homa Bay should avoid is intimidation and blackmail to enable us strengthens the party,” Kaluma said.

Odhiambo said Kidero hails from Homa Bay and can contest any seat he wants.

“The Constitution allows eligible candidates to contest political seats anywhere in Kenya. Let’s not gag others because of personal interests,” she said.