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Why MP Millie Odhiambo isn’t sitting pretty in Mbita race

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo briefs journalists in Mbita town after holding a meeting with ODM officials. (Photo: James Omoro/Standard)

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo Mabona is a fearless politician who pulls out all stops in defence of her political persuasion. She does not shy away from shielding ODM leader Raila Odinga from attacks by his political rivals.

In December last year, the Mbita legislator was accused of insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta at the height of bitter wars pitting Jubilee legislators against their CORD counterparts regarding amendments to the election laws.

But if latest events in her constituency are anything to go by, then Millie has a new headache to contend with. Four aspirants are angling to send her home in the August 8 polls. They are Homa Bay County Assembly Service Board Commissioner Judy Kamaria, businessman Jim Akali, Ayodo Nyabuana and David Okelo. Already, intense campaigns have started targeting the constituency’s vote rich wards of Mfangano, Rusinga, Kasgunga, Gembe and Lambwe.

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Mbita is a key constituency in Nyanza, previously represented in Parliament by bigshots such as Osingo Migure, Peter Nyakiamo, Omolo Opere and Otieno Kajwang, who Millie succeeded.

Majority of residents rely on fishing as their main economic activity. Opinion leaders say improvement of the fishing sector will be a key agenda in electing their next MP. According to local opinion leaders, the contest is shaping up to be two horse race, between Millie and Kamaria. Although Millie enjoys the benefit of incumbency, observers say a combined force of all the aspirants will give her a run for her money in the hunt for the constituency’s 36,916 votes.

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Kepher Ogola, area opinion leader said: “We have a number of young men and women who have acquired scholarships and other support though partnership of Kamaria and her development partners. These have enhanced her popularity in this constituency,” said Ogola. Others say Millie’s outspoken nature could work to her advantage. “Millie has been firm on her bid to admonish the Jubilee administration on its wrongdoings besides presenting Bills to Parliament,” said Edwin Kasienyo.

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In 2013, Millie won ODM primaries with the more than 12,000 votes. She was followed by Homa Bay County Executive for Energy Phares Ratego with about 5,000 votes. Residents say Millie promoted development activities. “During her reign, CDF was well spent,” said Charles Onyango, resident. However, other residents say unfair distribution of resources during her time could cost the outspoken legislator support. On the hand, Kamaria, who became second after the Otieno Kajwang’ in 2002, enjoys support over her support to the needy. “Kamaria is one woman who has been helping the poor. She can improve lives if given a chance,” said George Owuor.

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