NATIONALNEWSPeople Daily

Mini-polls to test Raila grip on home turf

Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga faces a litmus test in his Luo Nyanza political stronghold over impending by-elections in Homa Bay county and Ugenya constituency.

The holders of the two seats nullified by the court, Cyprian Awiti and Chris Karani respectively, have already appealed the rulings.

In an event that they lose the appeal, Raila will be forced to marshal his troops to campaign for the duo to assert authority in a region his family has controlled politically since independence. Karani won last year’s election by a slim margin of 265 votes against the immediate former MP David Ochieng who vied under the MDG party.

Governor Awiti also survived narrowly after garnering 210,173 votes against former Kasipul MP Joseph Magwanga who had 189,060 votes. Speaking to People Daily on phone, Ochieng exuded confidence of winning the seat if a by-election is called.

“During campaigns, they told people only ODM MPs should be elected because Raila was going to be president and yet I managed the many votes, now you wonder what strategy they will use this time round,” he said.

He said Ugenya residents had already made up their minds and would not be hoodwinked by cheap propaganda.

“The era of voting six piece is gone, this seat will not be for ODM party,” he added. Karani, however, dismissed Ochieng’s assertion saying the constituency was not ready “to re- elect a none-performer”.

“We all know that the former MP was a puppet of Jubilee party and this time round the people of Ugenya will re-confirm that indeed they belong to ODM,” he said.

Rasanga also vowed to ensure the orange party retains the county seat. “It is practically impossible for MDG to win any seat in this region. We will do everything possible to ensure that,” he said.

The governor was directed by Raila last weekend to mobilise a special team and resources for the party to retain the seat.

ODM chairman John Mbadi also vowed to ensure the orange party retains  the seat. “ Those who are thinking that ODM can lose the two seats are daydreaming. It’s just a matter of time, “ he said.

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