ODM Party Primaries In Busia County-The Paul Otuoma Factor

Dr Paul Otwoma with ODM party leader Raila Odinga

Another boiling political tornado is the heavily corrupted ODM nomination processes during each election year that Raila Odinga and ODM have so far failed to address. This time around the nomination process in Busia may heavily hound him dearly if not handled properly. The County Women Rep Florance Mutua is being taunted as Mama Ida Odinga’s preferred ODM party gubernatorial flag bearer during this year’s elections, Mama Ida is Raila’s wife

By The Weekly Vision Online

Residents of Busia County are bracing themselves for a tough contest for the positions of Governor and that of President with political stakes being higher than in neighbouring counties of Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga and Trans Nzoia during the August elections, political experts say. A political pact between Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA has triggered what seems like a ‘political tornado’ in Busia and the region.  

A political tornado may easily consign the Azimio la Umoja architect, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga out of the region’s political landscape if not well handled. Unlike in the previous years, the former Premier does not seem to have influential and dedicated political foot soldiers on the ground with the ability to effectively marshall the region’s massive youthful number of voters into his corner.

In Kakamega County alone the Mudavadi – Ruto axis already has several fanatical and dedicated foot soldiers like Senator Cleophas Malala and former Senator Bonny Khalwale. Raila Odinga on the other hand has politically waning outgoing County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Central Organization of Trade Union’s (COTU) boss Francis Atwoli on his side, both hail from Butere, their influence is likely to be limited to their homes of Butere and Khwisero

Investigations by The Weekly Vision Online in Busia County indicate that DP William Ruto already has seasoned politicians doing his bidding on the ground, courtesy of his pact with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party. Political experts warn that Raila Odinga has no option but to go back to his political drawing board soon to re-strategize the Busia and the Western Kenya factor, otherwise, by the time he realises voters will be gone, a development that may permanently consign him to political oblivion.

A poster of Busia County Gubernatorial candidate Paul Otwoma with his running mate Mr Fred Odilo

It is a well-known fact that the region boasts the second largest number of registered voters, second only to the Mount Kenya region, these are huge numbers that are likely to determine who becomes the winner in any Presidential election. In Kakamega County alone the Mudavadi – Ruto axis already has several fanatical and dedicated foot soldiers like Senator Cleophas Malala and former Senator Bonny Khalwale. Raila Odinga on the other hand has politically waning outgoing County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Central Organization of Trade Union’s (COTU) boss Francis Atwoli on his side, both hail from Butere, their influence is likely to be limited to their home areas of Butere and Khwisero.  

Vihiga is Mudavadi Mudavadi’s home County, political analysts say the man has developed a powerful political stranglehold here. Virtually all serious political leaders here are jostling for the ANC party ticket. The only foot soldier in Raila Odinga’s camp in Vihiga is the current first-term governor Wilberforce Ottichilo who may be on his way out of office, just like his predecessor Moses Akaranga. An emerging scenario for Raila Odinga in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties are even worse, having never marshalled any tangible political power base there. Most voters here suspect that Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa’s newly created political DAP-K outfit is ODM in different colours. That the party was formed to help in infiltrating voters for Raila Odinga in the two county’s courtesy of Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa and former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, who both support Raila’s Presidential bid. Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties have traditionally rejected Mr Odinga’s political advances.

That leaves the highly volatile and sometimes rebellious Busia County where ODM’s perceived foot soldiers led by outgoing Governor Sospeter Ojaamong and Amos Wako seem to have abandoned Mr Odinga’s mission. Yet it is a county where the ODM leader enjoyed the biggest and most fanatical voter base. The base is now on the brink of rebelling against him, right from Ojaamong’ himself who is reportedly fighting to maintain some political relevance as he battles to re-capture the Teso South constituency seat in August.

The most interesting scenario here is that most of those who have lined up to contest for Governor in Busia County in 2022 are crowded in Raila’s ODM. ODM party nominations in Busia will demand astute and pragmatic handling, with a lot of care from Raila Odinga himself. The Azimio outfit leader has so far failed to identify a dedicated political general to ably handle his mission for the Presidency.

It is emerging that Raila Odinga has not assigned a general to lead his battle for his Presidency in the County, while the Mudavadi-Ruto outfit has former ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, Nambale constituency legislator John Bunyasi, former Teso South and North legislators Mary Emase and Arthur Odera, former Agricultural Finance Corporation Chie Executive (CEO) Lucas Meso and many others

Those lined up in ODM as candidates for the county’s Governorship are led by a former cabinet minister, also ODM national top leader, and two-term Funyula constituency legislator Dr Paul Otuoma who floored a sitting Vice President. Others are the County’s Senator Amos Wako, Women Rep Florence Mutua, and Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi. ODM’s history of a compromised nomination process will be key in deciding who captures the Busia County governors post in the coming elections.

It is emerging that Raila Odinga has not assigned a general to lead his battle for his Presidency in the County, while the Mudavadi-Ruto outfit has former ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, Nambale constituency legislator John Bunyasi, former Teso South and North legislators Mary Emase and Arthur Odera, former Agricultural Finance Corporation Chie Executive (CEO) Lucas Meso and many others.

The decisive ones to succeed Ojaamong are former AFC) Chief Executive Meso who initially reportedly wanted to battle it out on Ruto’s UDA ticket but has chickened out to Wamalwa’s DAP-K, Nambale’s two-term ANC MP John Bunyasi on an ANC ticket and lately the County’s DG who has reportedly shifted from ODM to try his chances in Wamalwa’s baby DAP-K party.

In the coming general election political imbroglio, Raila Odinga has no choice but woes Dr Otuoma and tap into his massive fanatical voter base that is spread across Busia county so as to achieve a comfortable Presidential win. Dr Otuoma has enough lieutenants in the sub-counties within Busia to turn the tables against a strong William Ruto-Musalia Mudavadi political wave that is currently sweeping the Western Kenya region.

The fact is that in the 2007 elections Dr Otuoma pulled off a monumental feat that few politicians have ever managed, winning a constituency seat as a political novice when he battled for Funyula constituency seat against an entrenched billionaire in then-Vice President Awori. He possesses the willpower and organisational acumen to sweep the county as governor in the coming election.

The fatal mistake Raila Odinga is making currently is the fact that despite his failures in the counties of western Kenya region in the past, and especially in Busia County, where he has not yet identified a team of political generals to do his bidding, he is already gambling with his Presidential aspirations on opportunistic political predators with no known political base.

Another boiling political tornado is the heavily corrupted ODM nomination processes during each election year that Raila Odinga and ODM have so far failed to address. This time around the nomination process in Busia may heavily hound him dearly if not handled properly. In Busia, the County Women Rep Florance Mutua is being taunted as Mama Ida Odinga’s preferred ODM party gubernatorial flag bearer during this year’s elections, Mama Ida is Raila’s wife.

For Raila Odinga to win the presidency, it will all depend on how he manages the ODM party primaries without any preferred candidate before the nominations. ODM insiders at Chungwa house are known for taking bribes and manipulating the process, It must not be forgotten that the 2017 ODM nominations left Raila Odinga with a smelly face over the Busia County Gubernatorial contest because of his perceived naked preference for Ojaamong’. That the ODM party nominations have over the years been its undoing because of the rampant un-controlled internal self-destructive methods used, crowned by raw corrupt practices. If that were to happen again this year, it simply means that the party will self-destruct with devastating consequences to Azimio’s chances to succeed outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

At the last general elections in Busia County, ODM members were deeply aggrieved after Dr Otuoma was denied the ticket after having won the nomination contest with a massive landslide, because of direct interference from Raila Odinga owing to his old personal relations with Ojaamong’. Dr Otuoma later contested as an independent candidate garnering 125,165 against Mr Ojaamong’s 135,962 in an election that was heavily marred with irregularities that led to a court petition.

Despite that, Dr Otuoma decided to re-join the ODM Party and has been rallying his massive grassroots supporters behind Baba’s corner in his fifth bid for the presidency in this year’s elections. A fact that his political opponents have not embraced for fear that they will be outclassed in behind-the-scenes high-level political manipulations that are known to plague ODM in primaries.

Erupting facts on the ground at the moment indicate that it is critical that for Raila Odinga to control Busia and Western Kenya with Ruto-Musalia’s emerging raging tornado, he has to appease Dr Otuoma and his massive followers to help him restore his support base.

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