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Raila faces nightmare scenario in Homa Bay

24 January 2015, 10:03 William Korir

Nairobi - ODM leader Raila Odinga faces the possibility of losing the Homa Bay Senatorial by election, a loss that would seriously dent his psyche and stronghold over the orange party.

The ODM leader has supported Moses Kajwang to replace his brother and close friend the late Otieno Kajwang in the February 13 by election.

That decision has split the party into two, with some leaders opposed to Kajwang's controversial candidacy, openly coming up against the party in the by elections.

Chief of them is Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who is supporting Maendeleo Party of Kenya's candidate, former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi.

The worry within the party is that with Kidero's support and popularity in Homa Bay as he hails from the region and the fact that majority on the ground have opposed Kajwang's candidacy, might see Okundi win the elections, a nightmare scenario for Odinga and ODM.

According to observers, there are two points that stick out.

First is, the open disregard to the party choice by Kidero and a number of Mps affiliated to ODM. A number of MPs have openly said they will not support Kajwang.

Does that mean that Raila's powers are waning?

And secondly, is Raila the ll domineering leader of old? In the past, he would not have been opposed on anything, forget publicly. But what about now?

What has changed?

" Raila is at the stage in his life as a politician where he needs to start delegating matters and needs to start planning for retirement and that is the issue that lies ahead," Timothy Kaluoch, a political analyst based in Kisumu says.

" Younger leaders like Kidero know that they need to start staking their claim and with recent events and losses for Raila in the 2013 General Election, where he was beaten soundly, that has started taking place".

" He will not be there forever, so it is natural that younger leaders come to the forefront," he says.

In the Homa Bay poll, the gripe has been that for too long, Raila has got away with instituting his own persons to lead, and people want a change.

" We want a change. We want our own person. In recent years, Raila has put his own people and we have accepted. Now we want our own person, Isaac Juma Olwiny," a boda boda welfare association secretary in Homa Bay says.

" No one has an issue with Raila. We just want him to respect our decision. Kajwang is not the person we want and he should know that," he adds.

During Kidero's announcement on his support for Okundi, he said that he was not against party policy but following the wishes of the people of Homa Bay.

" The people of Homa Bay have said that they want Philip Okundi to be their next Senator and in light of that, I have no other option than to follow them," he said.

Not that ODM will care.

" Everyone has a choice democratically as is stated in the constitution but Kidero and the rest must know that this is a decision that might come back to bite them," ODM chairman John Mbadi said.

According to many though, the threats are a sign that in reality, there is fear of ODM losing the election and Kaluoch sums it up nicely.

" If their decision was of no consequence to the party, they would not have spoken about it but the threats are a sign that there is real fear that the election could go either way".

Food for thought for ODM and a major point of focus for Nyanza politics.

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