Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong. (Photo: Boniface Okendo, Standard)
A fierce electoral battle is shaping up in key Opposition counties as the four affiliate parties scheme to go after each other’s jugular in the polls.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) parties have indicated keen interest on Mombasa, Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia, Kisumu and Homa Bay among other Opposition turfs.
ODM leader Raila Odinga last week handed nomination certificates to candidates in some of the areas, transforming the electoral area into battlegrounds where friendly fire will be exchanged on August 8.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya was one of the 16 gubernatorial candidates, 104 MPs and hundreds of MCA aspirants given direct tickets.
Ford Kenya of NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula has fronted Senator Boni Khalwale for the Kakamega seat, while Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) is set to hand its sole aspirant Michael Osundwa a direct ticket.
ANC Secretary General Godfrey Osotsi Wednesday said they have gubernatorial aspirants in Kisumu, Bungoma, Migori, Nyamira among other counties in western Kenya.
The party will conduct primaries in Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni among other counties.
In Busia, ANC has Kisumu County Secretary Humphrey Nakitare seeking to square it out with whoever ODM will settle on. Governor Sospeter Ojamong and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma are seeking the Orange party ticket.
In Kisumu, ANC has former senior deputy clerk of the National Assembly Peter Omolo to battle it out for the gubernatorial seat. He will face off with the candidate that ODM – which enjoys huge support in the area – will settle on. Governor Jack Ranguma, Senator Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and Hezron Mc’Obewa are seeking ODM ticket.
ODM on the other hand has set its eyes on Bungoma Senate seat currently held by NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula. The party has given Bonface Wayne Nyongesa ticket to run for the seat. ANC has journalist David Makali for the Bungoma seat.
Mr Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya, Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi are all jostling for the NASA presidential ticket.
ODM has also handed Wilber Khasilwa Ottichilo ticket to run for Vihiga governorship against the incumbent Moses Akaranga.
And in Ukambani, ODM has fielded candidates for Yatta, Mavoko, Kilome, Makueni and Kibwezi West parliamentary seats.
Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar said the party will also be fielding candidates countrywide. He said the party has candidates in Nyanza and parts of Western region.
“The issuance of direct tickets was a bold communication that they are past joint primaries because you cannot go back and tell those who have been given tickets to come for a fresh process. But we have no issue at all as a partner patter in the coalition,” he said.
The Mombasa senator is set to face off with Governor Hassan Joho, who will be defending his seat on ODM ticket. Joho is one of the eight sitting governors the Orange party handed nomination certificates at Bomas of Kenya.
Talks for joint nominations in the coalition collapsed after Ford Kenya, Wiper and ANC resisted, claiming it would have given ODM an upper hand since the Raila-led party has more sitting members compared to the other three parties.
But Raila last week insisted that they were still in talks to have joint primaries in Nairobi to avoid giving Jubilee an upper hand. But a few hours later, he gave Dr Kidero a direct ticket.
Omar and ANC Secretary General Godfrey Osotsi confirmed that talks for joint process in Nairobi were still on.
Mr Osotsi said they will agree on specific seats in Nairobi to avoid splitting the Opposition support in Nairobi.