George Kebaso @Morarak
Seven ODM aspirants have stepped down in favour of former Energy Minister Ochillo Ayacko as the party’s sole flag bearer for the October 8 Migori Senate seat by-election.
The decision was announced after a four-hour consultative meeting between the hopefuls and their party leader Raila Odinga at Orange House yesterday.
The ODM leader moved swiftly to quell an imminent fall-out in Migori county pitting the party top hierarchy against local politicians.
“The contestants said the decision to settle on Ayacko was arrived at after a consultative meeting with party’s National Executive Council and in line with the nomination rules,” said a source privy to the meeting.
Those who met the ODM leader included former MPs John Pesa and Edick Anyanga, cousin of the late senator Mark Okundi and his son Willis Okello, Solomon Hodo, Kennedy Makasembo and Eddy Oketch.
“The decision to handpick Ayacko was approved by all of us. We are aware ODM is strong and do not want to go against the party’s choice to fly its flag for the by-election,” Pesa told journalists.
With this decision and after the ruling Jubilee Party, pulled off from the race, the battle is now between Ayacko and his long-term political rival, former Public Service Minister, Dalmas Otieno.
While addressing journalists, Raila reiterated the need for consultations in view to strengthening the support base for the chosen candidate. The seat fell vacant following the death of senator Ben Oluoch Okello in June.
The move by ODM to handpick Ayacko had divided the party support base in the county with fears the ODM candidate will face a tough campaign period ahead of the mini poll. Dalmas and Governor Okoth Obado are unhappy with Ayacko’s nomination.
ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed, his Political Affairs counterpart, Opiyo Wandayi and chairman, John Mbadi are on record cautioning Obado against opposing the party’s choice.