Migori Governor Zacharia Okoth Obado has decamped from PDP to ODM, Kenya Today can now reveal.
The governor on Friday hosted CORD leader Raila Odinga at the anniversary of Mama Rosah Ayuya Oyoo, the late mother to Ida Odinga, the PM’s wife.
The two leaders, with several local MPs and grassroots officials held a series of meetings and pubic rallies in the area including a visit to Kuria where they were joined by Migori senator Dr. Wilfred Machage.
Close allies of the governor argue he has been instrumental in achieving the objectives of devolution more than any other Nyanza governor, thus is more ODM than the others who won the last elections on the party’s ticket.
“Migori is an ethnically cosmopolitan county. Governor Obado has ensured the majority Luos and the minority Kuria and Kisiis and other communities in this county feel represented in his government. He has kept Migori intact for Mzee (read Raila) which is a major achievement,” said Dennis Orero, an adviser to the governor.
Orero claims Obado has not been faced with the kind of wrangles destroying counties like Kisumu and Siaya which opponents of Raila and the CORD coalition will use against the opposition.
“We have maintained sobriety and unity. We too have faced several challenges but governor Obado has been more ready to listen and compromise than any other governor in this region. ODM is stronger in Migori because the governor often secretly funds its activities despite currently not being a member. We realize ODM is the bigger home,” he added.
Obado has been sending emissaries to top officials of ODM but used his close association with the Ida to mend fences ahead of the 2017 elections.Â Ida is said to be a staunch supporter of the governor and feels he should be given a chance in ODM to continue serving Migori people.
ODM Party has remained the most popular political party in Migori County and the governor is aware it will be difficult to get re-elected on the PDP ticket which he used during the last elections.
His success with PDP hinged on the fact that it was an affiliate CORD party then, but the owner, former South Migirango MP Omingo Magara, has since struck a deal with Jubilee and the party is in a post-election working agreement with the ruling coalition. Magara himself was recently appointed as the Chairman of KICC by President Uhuru.
Last year, Obado pulled closer to Jubilee and even invited both President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto to Migori but one of the meetings turned violent, forcing him to later lead an apology delegation to statehouse to ask for forgiveness. Disaffected youths caused ruckus at the forum with a shoe landing a few metres to presidential dias.
The governor is also alleged to be in a poor working relationship with several ODM MPs from the county, including Suna East MP and ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed. However, a source close to Junet revealed the two have opened ‘channels of communication’ and the issues are being sorted.
Obado’s entry to ODM will complicate issues to former Rongo MP Ochillo Ayacko who has also declared interest in the seat, as well as Engineer Mark Nyamita, who contested the seat in 2013 and lost. Nyamita recently met CORD leader Raila Odinga. It is still not known whether Prof. Oyugi Akong’o, the ODM canditate during the last elections will again making another stub.