The NASA presidential campaign team in Nyanza is beseeching independent candidates to drop their bids and support their ODM counterparts.
The team led by their chairman Bob Madanje, coordinator Paddy Ahenda (former Karachuonyo MP) and member Oburu Oginga (nominated MP) said on Monday it had reduced its emphasis on the six-piece voting strategy.
This is after it became apparent that those who defected from ODM to campaign as Independent candidates did so because of the poor management of the party primaries that were marked with protests.
On Monday, the leaders said they were in talks with some of the candidates to shelve their ambitions and support ODM candidates.
They did not give details on whom they had spoken to on this new strategy.
The change of tone comes amid rebellion by the public against the party candidates after strong aspirants ditched the party to vie on independent tickets after the bungled party primaries.
The team, which toured Muhoroni Constituency ahead of Raila Odinga’s visit next week, said even Jubilee candidates who had quit the party to vie as independents, after contesting the results of the primaries, were quitting the race to stand with their party.
Others in the team were Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo, ODM County Woman Representative aspirant Roza Buyu, and party Branch Chairman Ayiecho Olweny.
“We have seen our competitors convince some of their people to drop the independent candidates’ narrative, and you can see in places like Nakuru the governor, who had vowed to defend his seat on an independent ticket, tone down to let in the Jubilee candidate. Why are we adamant that it has to be me on the ballot?” said Madanje.
And with the growing influence of independent candidates in Nyanza, Raila’s campaign team expressed concerns that ODM’s negotiation powers in the NASA coalition may be weakened if it fails to get maximum elective seats.
Ahenda, who also vied for the Karachuonyo parliamentary seat during the ODM April primaries, claimed he had been rigged out, but had no option but to stick to the party and support party candidates.
“I too did not accept the results for the Kabondo-Kasipul Constituency primaries, but I looked back and saw it wise not to antagonise the party leader by running as an independent candidate,” said Ahenda.
Oburu said it was not too late for the independent candidates to cool down and instead focus on Raila presidency.
“We came here knowing that you are Raila supporters and that you will vote for him, but our aim for coming here was to try to explain to you why you need to vote for him plus his team, and also vote in large numbers,” said Oburu.
In Kisumu, Governor Jack Ranguma has been a constant headache for ODM candidate Anyang’ Nyong’o.
The same scenario is experienced in Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties where Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, his Kasipul counterpart Oyugi Magwanga and Former Rongo MP Ochillo Ayacko respectively have seen their independent candidatures gain ground.
The growing influence was fuelled by reports that Raila, in his latest tour of Homa Bay a fortnight ago, was tolerant of independent candidates.
Oburu said the team had traversed the Nyanza region with the climax set to be next week when Raila tours the area for the final leg of voter mobilisation ahead of the August 8 polls.
“In politics it is either win or lose, and if you lose it is prudent to stick with the party, and not to run away,” he said.
When he toured Homa Bay last week, Raila said even those campaigning as independent candidates were his people and asked them to stop petty wars with their ODM rivals.
He said the bitter rivalry in the region could affect his presidential bid and said some of those seeking elective positions would be given jobs in a NASA government.