Migori Senator Dr Wilfred Machage has endorsed ousted Migori governor Zachary Okoth Obado in a game-changing by election set to bring old rivalries back to the political fore. Obado lost the seat after a successful petition by 2013 ODM candidate Prof Oyugi Akong’o.
Senator Machage, a late convert to ODM party towards the last general elections is said to have been prevailed upon by his Kuria ethnic minority in a predominantly Luo County to rally behind Obado whom they say has ensured balanced representation in the distribution of county jobs.
Top positions in the county are held by Kurias, including women Representative Denittah Ghati and County Deputy Governor. In sheer numbers, the bloc vote of the Kuria will be the determinant of the electoral outcome should more Luo candidates join the race.
Aides of the Migori Senator intimated to this writer that while Dr Machage may not openly endorse Obado just yet, he has dispatched most of his grassroots contacts to begin preparing ground for the former governor. Obado has moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the nullification of his election.
The by election will also test the strength and impact of the yet to be formed party associated with Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno. Already, Otieno’s former competitor Hon. Â Ochillo Ayacko has indicated he may decide to vie.
The entry of Ochillo, complete with blessings from top ODM party hierarchy, is meant to check the influence of Dalmas whose dalliance with the Jubilee government has irked ODM party. Both Obado and Otieno have in the recent parts openly ‘worked’ with the government.
President Uhuru appointed Otieno as special envoy to South Sudan while governor Obado hosted Deputy President William Ruto at various occasions in the county.
Other candidates on the race include Eng. Mark Nyamita who unsuccessfully contested the seat in last year’s elections.