THE race for Siaya gubernatorial seat is likely to take a new dimension following high indications that area Senator James Orengo wants to take over from Cornel Rasanga the incumbent whose term will come to an end come 2022. As the race to succeed Rasanga gradually shapes up as expected, it will inevitably divided leaders two years to the ballot. Already, there are political formations, with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s close allies caught up in the succession battle.
At some stage, political undertones marked the burials of Achieng Oneko’s wife, Loice Anyango and William Oduol’s father in Rarieda and Alego-Usonga sub-counties respectively. While Siaya Senator James Orengo is yet to declare his political interest in 2022 elections, a section of his allies has been drumming up support for him. The name of Jubilee party secretary Raphael Tuju has also cropped up with word, due to his current battle over the ownership of his hotel with African development Bank, he has decided not to run but concentrate on the legal battle. “A time has come that we must now reward our heroes with political seats and Senator Orengo suits the reward,’ said Samuel Atandithe Alego Usonga Mp. Among those who are said to have the interest to succeed Governor Cornel Rasanga but are also yet to declare their interest publicly are Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Deputy Governor James Okumbe and Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda.
Former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo who vied for the seat during the 2017 general elections and lost to Rasanga has also declared his interest to run for the seat. Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, who has also been touted as a possible candidate for the county’s top seat has previously dismissed the claims. Tuju, who was speaking during the burial of Oneko’s wife in Kunya village, Rarieda sub-county, said there were bigger positions than the governorship. Orengo was caught up in a war of words with Bondo MP Ochanda on the happenings of 2013 party nominations and how they settled for a gubernatorial candidate. While Ochanda dismissed calls for dialogue or consensus as an approach for electing the next county boss, his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo said it will be imperative for the political class to sit and agree on how to share the county seats. MP Ochanda narrated to the mourners how a similar approach led the county into a stalemate, which then resulted in Governor Rasanga coming into the picture as the party’s candidate, against the wishes of residents.
“In 2012, we were with Oduol, Orengo, and former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo in one camp. Oduol and I were eyeing the Governor’s seat, while Orengo had interest in the Senate seat and we campaigned. Orengo and Midiwo always told us our issue with Oduol would be sorted,” narrated Ochanda. He recalled that on December 13, 2012, a lot of issues cropped in when they were campaigning in Gem when Midiwo said the party had decided that Oburu would be the candidate. “This is the reason I cannot trust any issue of dialogue on who will fly the party ticket for the race because the same people calling for dialogue are the ones who messed us up in 2013. I will not accept and I will not be a party to it. I will support someone who has interest of the people at heart,” he stated. Ochanda claimed that there are certain things that happened in 2013 during nominations that must not happen again for they are meant to deceive people and drive them away from the party.
But an angry Orengo, who was speaking on the county gubernatorial succession politics for the first time dismissed Ochanda and asked him to also publicly tell the people the exact things that had happened in Bondo sub-county during the 2013 party primaries. “Ochanda, when telling a story gave the full picture of what happened. You should also tell these people how you became MP. You are not telling us how you won,” said Orengo. Orengo argued that any member of ODM party who has declared interest to run for the top county seat should be allowed to do so Gumbo is so far the only person who has so far come out in the open over the issue. Gumbo contested for the seat in the 2017 general elections but lost narrowly to Rasanga. He filed a petition in the high court but lost. Gumbo is so far the front runner for the seat as the clock ticks towards 2022. Rasanga is said to be gunning for either the Senate of the position of Nyanza regional governor if such a position is created courtesy of the building bridges initiative.
Former Bondo Member of Parliament Dr. Oburu Oginga is also said to be keen on becoming the Senator if Orengo guns for the position of governor. Oginga gunned the gubernatorial seat in 2013 but lost in the primaries to Oduol amidst protests from both sides. Rasanga was handed in the party ticket as a compromise candidate while Oginga was later nominated to parliament. The Governor beat Gumbo in the last polls amidst stiff opposition from the former legislator. It was earlier believed that former Cabinet MinisterTuju who is also a former Rarieda Mp would also be gunning for the position of Governor even though he has been silent over the matter. Other reports have indicated that Oburu Odinga will be returning to his former Bondo seat after Ochanda performed dismally during his ten-year hiatus as an elected Mp. But insiders say that Oginga is fronting for his son Jaoko Oburu to take over from Ochanda come 2022. Jaoko is an executive in the government of Rasanga where he is in charge of public works.
Orengo though not development conscious will be banking on his relationship with Odinga to catapult himself into office. Keen observers believe that the position of Governor would be better; left for a technocrat like Tuju who is development conscious. Tuju is credited with the initiation of numerous development projects in Rarieda between 2002 and 2007. Sources say plans were underway for Orengo to meet Ugenya elders over his next political dispensation. It is believed the Senator will seek the elders’ blessings before publicly declaring his interest to the electorate… The Senator, unlike his competitors, will be riding on his vast experience in politics and vicious advocacy for democracy in the country. But his move is unlikely to go down well with some county leaders who have publicly declared their preferred candidates in the race. Gumbo has warned ODM officials against endorsing any candidate in the guise of loyalty to the party or its leader Raila Odinga. Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi has hinted that ODM will not gamble with the Siaya governor seat, the county being Raila’s backyard.
According to a section of Siaya residents, Orengo is likely to enjoy the support of ODM. Wandayi and Siaya woman representative Christine Ombaka are among leaders who have endorsed Orengo saying he has been tried and tested. Siaya is largely ODM and residents have always been rallied to vote in a six-piece model in favour of the Orange party. This means all candidates will fight hard to clinch the party’s ticket at the primaries come 2022The governor seat has emerged as one of the most lucrative owing to the power trappings that come with the office. At the constituency level, Gem Mp Elisha Odhiambo is to face Midiwo who has defected back to ODM. It is not clear why Wandayi would be keen on taking on Orengo by the horns given the senator’s high stature politically. Ugunja MP Dave Ochieng is said to be keen on defending his seat with the same case in Rarieda where the incumbent Otiende Amollo enjoys both support of Odinga and his followers due to his pivotal role in the presidential election petition filed after the 2017 general polls.
In Alego Usonga has emerged that area lawmaker Atandi could face tough hurdles defending his seat in the 2022 general elections. According to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) officials in Siaya county, the vocal parliamentarian seems to be losing his popularity to a newcomer. Siaya ODM youth official Charles Onguko says that Atandi is facing opposition from Martin Otieno alias Mijesh, a newcomer who is very keen on unseating him in the much-anticipated race. He added that the same has seen the vocal leader become furious with area leaders and politicians seemingly allied to Mijeshi. This follows allegations that Atandi hired goons to attack a nominated Member of County Assembly (MCA) last year With such grave allegations about the lawmaker renting the air, it is believed he is losing his popularity and respect by the locals as Mijeshi uses the opportune moment to make himself popular.
Joho works on Coast 2022 lineup – Weekly Citizen
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has renewed his war against Coast elected leaders who are perceived to be supportive of William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid. Currently, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya is under siege from hostile MCAs suspected to be under instructions of Joho through county speaker Sammy Ruwa.
Ruwa has been a longtime Joho sidekick and has also acted as his legal adviser in the past. He has been fronted for governor seat twice but rejected. He is speaker for a second term. Towards the end of Mvurya’s first term, he has been a Ruto man. He has no time for Joho, insisting Kwale is not an extension of Mombasa county. In the last general elections, Joho had vowed to ensure Mvurya was defeated at the ballot. But this was never to be after the Mombasa governor fell out with Chirau Mwakwere who was a sure bet against Mvurya on the then popular ODM ticket.
After Mwakwere bolted out of ODM to Wiper, Joho turned to little known Issa Chipera as party candidate. Chipera literally became minced meat for Mvurya who easily beat him and made a comeback on a Jubilee ticket. Mvurya is grooming his deputy Fatuma Achani to succeed him in the next general election but observers say this is a tall order. Joho on the other hand is reportedly pushing Crop Development PS Hamad Boga for the Kwale seat against Mvurya’s candidate and Mwakwere. Another Ruto man on Joho’s radar is Kaloleni MP Paul Katana. Recently, the legislator was discharged as a member of the parliamentary investment committee in actions said to have the Mombasa governor’s hand.
Ironically, Katana was Joho’s PA when he served as Kisauni MP. But it appears other than fighting Katana for aligning himself with Ruto, he never wanted him to be MP in the first place. In the 2013 general election when Katana first contested and lost to little known Gunga Mwinga, there were allegations that ODM insiders had rigged him out. Currently, Joho is said to be financing the political activities of Mwinga to undermine Katana in the constituency. Katana has said severally that his cooperation with Ruto is because of the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I’m a loyal member of ODM with full respect to my party leader. I also support the handshake and that is why I have been working with DP Ruto to further development in my constituency,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
He has also said his cooperation with Ruto is not for selfish reasons but for the benefit of his constituents. He says the DP has presided over high profile funds drives towards public projects in his constituency. The MP says some of the people fighting him have never assisted Kaloleni to move forward but wants leaders who can bootlick them.“I’m independent-minded and I work for the interest of my people who elected me and have no time for sycophancy,” Katana says. Mohammed Ali of Nyali constituency and a close ally of the DP is another one whom Joho is scheming against. He is pushing his cousin Said Abdalla aka Saido against the Jicho Pevu.
Jicho Pevu’s recent rising political profile after he filed a motion to impeach transport CS James Macharia over chaos at Mombasa port has alarmed the Joho camp. In spite of the rejection of the motion by Speaker Justin Muturi, Ali has become a hero in Mombasa. Last week, pro-Joho Mombasa MPs led by Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir were doing damage control. They toured the port and pleaded with the KPA management to put out a notice affirming that usage of SGR for containers upcountry was optional. This was meant to cool the heat against them after residents began collecting signatures to recall them for failing to support Jicho Pevu motion. Another Joho political foe Aisha Jumwa of Malindi constituency is politically wounded and the Mombasa governor no longer cares what she does or says. The Malindi MP’s self-inflicted woes have dimmed her 2022 Kilifi governor bid.
Fresh political formation in Siaya ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
There are plans afoot to drop Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi from a leading role in Senator James Orengo gubernatorial campaign team. Observers point that the surprising decision was reached after it became clear that the controversial legislator was no longer appealing to the majority of voters.
There were earlier reports of an inside analysis conducted within Siaya senator campaign inner circle that hinted the disadvantages of trusting the MP with a major role yet he was also facing stiff opposition from notable politicians in the region. The development debate comes hot on the heels of a video that went viral showing the evidently intoxicated legislator dancing suggestively during a house party attended by women, as his Gem counterpart Elisha Odhiambo cheered. Weekly Citizen has established that political formations are already regrouping in Siaya ahead of 2022 general election and a section of political leaders including top ODM party officials from Alego Usonga are not happy with Atandi’s quick move to front Senator Orengo for the county’s governorship.
Area governor Cornell Rasanga has confronted the lawmaker on a number of occasions describing his early campaigns in support of Orengo as a lack of respect for his office. The protest by the governor sparked off an anti-Atandi wave as he was immediately joined by a host of formidable politicians from Alego Usonga in castigating the MP accused of overstepping his political mandate. The local ODM party leadership led by Alego Usonga branch chairman John Orwenjo, and secretary Paul Jura reaffirmed that the party had crowned Rasanga as their bona fide patron and it was, therefore, his duty to offer political direction on matters regarding his successor. The Orengo-led group which also brings together Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo has been roundly accused of leading early full-scale political activities at the expense of development.
MCAs chairman Sylvester Madialo warned Atandi to stop creating confusion among voters, adding he should hold his horse and wait for the party whistle to be blown or prepare to equally lose his seat at the ballot. The leaders including Township MCA Obiero Otare, Vincent Odawa (North Alego), Judy Okumu (West Alego), Joseph Mboha (South East Alego), and Winnie Otieno (nominated) have loudly questioned how Atandi would deliver for Orengo when he is standing on a politically shaky ground. It is claimed that the Siaya senator blocked Atandi from using his chopper to escape from a crowd that turned rowdy during a food distribution to flood victims in his constituency. It is reported that trouble started after the MP barred Usonga ward MCA Madialo from addressing his voters after the food distribution. People with disabilities who had attended the event reportedly bayed for his blood after he gave them a paltry sh100 prompting Orengo to deny the lawmaker a chopper ride in fear that associating with him would jeopardize his 2022 governorship bid.
Rogue Kisumu NGO’s money minting gimmicks – Weekly Citizen
Various stakeholders and residents of Kisumu county have called upon Nyanza regional police commander Noah Mwivanda and his DCI counterpart Daniel Kipsoi, to investigate the activities of the chairman of an NGO called Magnum Environment Network Michael Nyaguti. The NGO, it is claimed, is a briefcase one with no donor funding surviving fully on extortion and threats. By last week, a victim was planning to institute private criminal charges against the NGO.
They are accusing Nyaguti of extortion and blackmail of people under the guise of encroaching on water catchment areas and flouting environmental laws failure of which he always resorts to going to courts as an interested party of the said social vice. One of the victims narrated that sometimes back, he was developing rental houses near Lake Victoria and had been given all the required documents from the county, Nema, and all relevant authorities to commence his work only for Nyaguti to appear menacing at the site with a group of people he called officials of Magnum Environment Network accompanied by some people who looked like police officers who demanded that I show them documents in regard to what I was doing. Most developers ranging from real estate to hospitable industries are saying that they are really undergoing rough times in the hands of the said Nyaguti who on most occasions is accompanied by some rogue police officers who intimidate and threaten their respective targets with arrests. The said Nyaguti had sometimes back attempted to extort Sh5 million each from former governors Evans Kidero and Jack Ranguma, together with a senior leading civil servant under the guise that they had bought land which should have been part of Lake Victoria.
When the trio was adamant that they would not give him any money, he sued them saying they had encroached on wetlands. The same Nyaguti also sued the Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club which he accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participatory forum, as part extortion antics but his bid has fallen on deaf ears. He had also sued Kenya Ports Authority, Kisumu after the parastatal had ordered beach management units out of its land after collecting thousands of shillings from the said victims. Recently together with other activists, they stormed Western offices of Kenya Wildlife Service demanding that they investigate a ring of cartels believed to be working in cahoots with officers to defraud victims of wildlife attacks of their compensation. After his request was rejected, he called a meeting in Kisumu with some of the victims who had not been paid and tried to convince them to give him the power of attorney so that he could press them for their payment. Efforts to get Nyaguti’s comments were fruitless while a senior KWS officer said that they have a clear policy on how KWS compensates. “KWS has no agreement with anyone to peruse payments,” he said.