Busia County 2022: How DP Ruto’s Ghost Haunts Paul Otuoma’s Political Career

Dr Paul Otwoma in his true colors, Red

  • The specter of having abandoned ODM for the Jubilee party has hounded Dr Otuoma for a long time and is one of the main reasons he was denied a direct nomination certificate by the party
  • Soon after he was beaten in the party primaries by outgoing governor Sospeter Ojaamong in 2017, Dr Otuoma abandoned ODM, contested as an independent candidate and lost badly
  • His un-holy dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto may soon come back to haunt him once proper campaigns begin, especially against contestants from the other political parties
By The Weekly Vision Online

Former Funyula legislator Paul Otwom is facing stormy political headwinds, just hours after clinching the ODM party nomination certificate against Florence Mutua. His un-holy dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto may soon come back to haunt him once proper campaigns begin, especially against contestants from the other political parties.

His opponents will want to remind voters how he once quit ODM and moved to Ruto’s camp. His choice of a running mate has also raised eyebrows among party’s support base; he picked former Teso North legislator and a DP Ruto protégé Arthur Odera as his Deputy Governor. Mr Odera first went to parliament on Ruto’s defunct United Republican Party (URP) in 2013 but lost it in 2017. He was however given a job in government by the DP.

Suzan Mang’eni with DP William Ruto

Soon after he was beaten in the party primaries by outgoing governor Sospeter Ojaamong in 2017, Dr Otuoma abandoned ODM, contested as an independent candidate and lost badly. He was offered a job in the Jubilee administration just like Ababu Namwamba through the influence of DP Ruto. At that time, Raila Odinga begged him not to make the move but he defied his party leader’s advice despite lengthy meetings at his Karen, Bondo homes and Dr Otuoma’s home in Funyula.

His closeness to DP Ruto saw his political fortunes take a nosedive. And just like his neighbour to the south Ababu Namwamba, their ill-advised move handed an opportunity to Raphael Wanjala to defect from Ford Kenya to ODM and in the process rejuvenated his political fortunes; he soon clinched the post previously held by Ababu.

The Weekly Vision Online understands that DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has picked Suzan Mang’eni from Dr Otuoma’s Funyula constituency and his ‘Mpango wa Kando’ to contest for the post of County Women Rep. Dr Otwoma first gave Suzan a job as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Fund which fell under his docket as Minister for Culture and Sports during the ‘Nusu Mkate’ government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga

The spectre of having abandoned ODM for the Jubilee party has hounded Dr Otuoma for a long time and is one of the main reasons he was denied a direct nomination certificate by the party. He also found it difficult to have a face to face meeting with the ODM party leader Raila Odinga despite following him on his presidential campaign trail at the Coast and during the party’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) at Bomas of Kenya and Kasarani. It took the intervention of former cabinet ministers Phillip Masinde and Fred Gumo to secure a meeting with Raila.

Considering that there are a number of qualified and experienced ODM party diehard politicians from the Teso community, he chose a Ruto operative as his DG. This brings into question whether his loyalty is still with ODM and its leader Odinga or with DP Ruto?

The Weekly Vision Online understands that DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has picked Suzan Mang’eni from Dr Otuoma’s Funyula constituency and his ‘Mpango wa Kando’ to contest for the post of County Women Rep. Dr Otwoma first gave Suzan a job as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Fund which fell under his docket as Minister for Culture and Sports during the ‘Nusu Mkate’ government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga

The Weekly Vision Online understands that DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has picked Suzan Mang’eni from Dr Otuoma’s Funyula constituency and his ‘Mpango wa Kando’ to contest for the post of County Women Rep. Dr Otwoma first gave Suzan a job as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Fund which fell under his docket as Minister for Culture and Sports during the ‘Nusu Mkate’ government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. It was during Mang’eni’s tenure at the Youth Fund when serious questions were raised by the auditor general over the hundreds of millions of shillings that were not accounted for.

The Weekly Vision Online understands that DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has picked Suzan Mang’eni from Dr Otuoma’s Funyula constituency and his ‘Mpango wa Kando’ to contest for the post of County Women Rep. Dr Otwoma first gave Suzan a job as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Fund which fell under his docket as Minister for Culture and Sports during the ‘Nusu Mkate’ government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. And why should residents of Busia elect a Governor and Women Rep from the same community of Funyula? Does it mean that other clans and communities in the county’s six sub-counties do not have able persons to fill up the positions?

 Dr Otuoma’s dalliance with DP Ruto messed him up with his Funyula political base, why should the same voters pick him this time round to lead the county? In August, Dr Otwoma will face powerful opponents who will be contesting for the same seat on other political parties. There is Dan Mogoria on Eugene Wamalwa’s Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K) allied to the Raila’s Azimio la Umoja, outgoing Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi on the same part ticket and Nambale constituency legislator John Bunyasi on the Amani National Congress (ANC) party ticket.

The emerging facts from the ground show that the contest to watch will be between Dan Mogoria because of the Teso community factor and John Bunyasi followed by Dr Otuoma. Since the other contestants are not hounded by the Ruto factor Dr Otwoma will surely face a tough contest with them. DP Ruto’s is a difficult sell in Busia county with voters who have over the centuries inter-married, lived in cohesion, harmony and without security and ethnic challenges, unlike in Ruto’s domain in the North Rift.

Adding salt to the burning injury is the fact that one Kevin Okwara from Busia, whose family settled in Turbo constituency decades ago next to Ruto’s Sugoi constituency, was denied a nomination certificate on Jubilee party in 2017 on DP Ruto’s order.

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