With the entry of Prof. Sam Ongeri into the ODM fold, and his high likelihood of clinching the ODM ticket, the senate bid by former Executive Director of ODM Ms Janet Ongera, currently a nominated Senator, has flopped.
Prof. Ongeri is said to be in an alliance with Governor James Ongwae who badly needed to balance his own re-election after the exit of Chris Obure to Jubilee. The Ongwae-Ongeri ticket is seen as an automatic ODM ticket.
Kisii (tribal) politics operates precariously on a delicate balance of party and clanism, with the two forces competing for equal attention.
Ongeri is a natural replacement of Obure with the added advantage of his ability to checkmate Nyachae influence in the region, though that influence has waned considerably despite his son Charles Nyachae pitching for Jubilee.
Ongera, a once powerful ODM secretariat boss, is also accused of messing up Kisii nominations in the run up to 2013 elections and favouritism in the sharing of nomination slots in the Kisii County Assembly.
“She nominated only her relatives and some people who never deserved it at all. The past, coupled with the fact that many Kisii men view her as unmarried, is playing against her,” a resident told this writer.
Some believe if subjected to a credible nomination she will lose to Ongeri, who is more respected culturally as a Kisii elder at a time that community has no senior politician with the gravitas to galvanize it.
Others are urging her to drop her bid.
Ongeri entry in ODM has also totally thrown Jubilee minions in the region off-guard, as it was unexpected. Many Jubilee politicians had falsely believed Prof. Ongeri would never defect from Jubilee, decamp to ODM and worse, vie again.
“He totally shocked. His coming on our side has changed the ground game,” said Mokaya Omariba, an quantity surveyor working in Kisii.
The Jubilee camp, facing internal hemorrhage, is likely to implode sooner rather than later. Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi is locked in a fierce control war with other Jubilee leaders to be the endorsed gubernatorial candidate, so is Charles Nyachae and others.