Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda has rejected a proposal to drop his re-election bid in favour of nominated MP Oburu Oginga and become the running mate of Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga in the August elections.
In an interview with Nation in Kisumu, Mr Ochanda confessed that there are attempts push him out of the race and have him deputise Mr Rasanga but he rubbished the suggestions.
“I can confirm to you that I have been approached by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and Nyando MP Fred Outa to drop my bid for Oburu in exchange for a running mate’s slot.
“But I cannot buy such an idea because there is no guarantee that I will get the slot and I am also not interested in taking other people’s positions,” Mr Ochanda said.
He went on: “To tell me to wait and become a running mate means I will not take part in ODM nominations for my Bondo seat and will just wait to be handpicked as running mate because deputies are not subjected to a nomination process. This is very suicidal and I am not ready to take it.”
MPS DENY REPORT
But Mr Wandayi and Mr Outa denied pushing Mr Ochanda to step down for Dr Oginga.
Mr Wandayi, the ODM director of political affairs, however, said he would not hesitate to take part in talks aimed at ensuring harmony in the county, where ODM leader Raila Odinga hails from.
He said: “I welcome any discussions or talks that can bring harmony and tranquillity in our party leader’s backyard, not just in Siaya alone.”
“Our focus is on the presidency and we don’t want acrimonious local political contests that can distract us,” the Ugunja MP said.
Mr Outa, the MP for Nyando, which is in Kisumu County, said he had no interest in Siaya politics.
RIGHT TO CONTEST
“However, everybody including Dr Oburu has a right to contest for any seat. If he calls me to help him in campaigns, I will not hesitate to do that because I have been their family friend for a long time,” said Mr Outa.
Mr Wandayi noted: “As a national party official, I cannot be involved in individual political aspirant’s campaigns. I must remain neutral and stay above the fray.”
The move by Dr Oginga, the opposition chief Raila Odinga’s elder brother, to make fresh attempts to recapture the seat he held for a record 20 years is threatening to further divide local leaders in the area.
Dr Oginga inherited the seat formerly held by his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in 1992 until 2013 when he contested for the governor’s seat after a negotiated deal with Mr Ochanda who dropped his gubernatorial bid to go for MP.
It is not clear how Mr Rasanga’s deputy, Ouma Onyango, would perceive such proposals aimed at removing him from the political equation.
He had earlier said that any attempts to drop him as Mr Rasanga’s running mate would be met with opposition, further hinting that he would, in such an arrangement, also decide to vie for governor.
Dr Oginga has consistently told his supporters that he had what it takes to recapture his seat as MP.
He did not respond to claims he is undermining Mr Ochanda as the Bondo MP.
Mr Ochanda accused Dr Oginga of mobilising some leaders from Nyanza including governors to campaign for him.
“It is quite absurd that he (Dr Oginga) is [portraying] me as an enemy of his family which I am not. The leaders have been campaigning for him against me solely to get favours during ODM nominations,” Mr Ochanda said.
However, ODM Secretary-General Agnes Zani assured that the party primaries will be free, fair and credible, hence no reason for aspirants to worry.