Governors hit the trail amid assault by rivals

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama (centre) and his deputy Amos Nyaribo (left) submit their documents to IEBC officials.[Photo: Stanley Ongwae/Standard)

With 65 days to the next elections, governors from Nyanza have hit the ground running a day after they were cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) amid a serious onslaught by their rivals.

Governors Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Okoth Obado (Migori), James Ongwae (Kisii), John Nyangarama (Nyamira), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) and Cornell Rasanga (Siaya) are leaving nothing to chance in their bids for a second term in office.

Running mates

Of the six, only Ranguma will defend his seat as an independent candidate after he lost the ODM certificate to Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o. The rest are flying ODM flags.

Obado, Awiti and Ongwae have retained their 2013 running mates. Ranguma has paired with Kenya National Union of Teachers Nyando Branch Chairman Ephraih Ananga after dropping Ruth Odinga while Rasanga has picked a South African based surveyor Dr James Okumbe after dumping Ouma Onyango.

Ranguma, Obado and Rasanga were cleared on Thursday while Ongwae, Awiti and Nyangarama got their IEBC certificates Friday. “We will sweep back to office. I am appealing to you to support ODM and our presidential candidate Raila Odinga,” Awiti told his supporters shortly after he was cleared Friday. Awiti has retained Hamilton Orata as his running mate.

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His opponent, Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, was cleared on Thursday and has also hit the campaign trail as an independent candidate. Magwanga has picked economist Joshua Orero as his running mate.

In Migori, former Cabinet Minister Ochilo Ayacko told residents to prepare for a new regime after he was cleared to face Governor Obado as an independent. Ayacko also unveiled Lucas Chacha Mosenda, an entrepreneur, as his number two. Mosenda hails from Kuria West and is from Bukira, the largest clan in the Kuria community. He worked as a program manager at Oxfam before quitting to pursue politics.

Obado has retained his deputy Chacha Mahanga as he prepares to battle Ayacko for the Kuria swing vote. Friday, Ayacko held several rallies in Kuria after he was cleared. Obado addressed a huge gathering at the Migori stadium on Thursday. In Kisumu, Prof Nyong’o and his running mate Mathews Owili, a pharmacist, launched their campaigns at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports ground in a function attended by several ODM MPs even as Ranguma accused him of trying to block him from the race with law suits.

“I am ready to defend my seat and that is why I am also choosing a youthful running mate,” said Ranguma.

Bribery claims

In Siaya, Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, who has picked former Kisumu and Mombasa Town Clerk Tubman Otieno as his deputy, accused Rasanga of using county funds to bribe voters. Rasanga hit back swiftly, saying Gumbo was crying foul after sensing defeat.

Parliamentary aspirants have also hit the ground running after they were cleared. In Kisumu East constituency, Shakeel Shabbir was given a nod to defend his seat as an independent candidate as was Nominated Senator Joy Gwendo of Jubilee. The duo will battle it out with ODM nominee Nicholas Oricho who was also cleared by IEBC.

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In Kisumu West and Seme constituencies, incumbents Olago Aluoch (Ford Kenya) and his counterpart James Nyikal (Seme) were cleared to defend their seats while in Kisumu Central, Yusuf Ooro got the nod to run as an independent.

In Nyatike, MP Edick Anyanga was cleared to run on an ODM ticket after the High Court in Nairobi declare him winner of the primaries.

High Court Judge Luke Kimaru of the Constitutional and Judicial Review Division threw out a petition by Civil Servants Trade Union leader Tom Odege, who had sought orders to be declared the nominee.

In Suna East, incumbent Junet Mohammed has been cleared to fly the ODM flag. His rivals John Pesa (independent) and Patrick Odipo (ANC) were also cleared.

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