By Phil Wesonga
As the home constituency of all the three CORD principals and part of the constituency that Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga ably represented as from 1992-2013, Langata Constituency is deemed as ODM’s to lose.
Langata is a constituency with unique needs across its five wards of Karen, Nyayo Highrise, Mugumo-ini, Nairobi West and South C. It is also a constituency in which the wealthiest and the poorest are resident. All of Nairobi’s social classes domicile in Langata. It also has a national park, an airport and very powerful resident associations.
The reported interest by DP William Ruto in this constituency is based many factors, but we all know which one is most important to him; the controversial Weston Hotel. However, the DP is also a resident of Langata both officially as Deputy State President and also as a home owner in plush Karen area. But this does not give him any leeway in deciding the next MP for Langata.
Apart from a lacklustre modelling career before joining the civil service as DP Ruto’s lapdog, Nixon Korir is largely unknown, save for emerging runners up in the 2013 elections where the CORD vote was divided among five candidates running on affiliate parties. A laidback Joash Olum, who did not hold a single campaign rally, still emerged the winner by virtue of having “won” the ODM ticket. However, ODM remains alive to the fact that DP Ruto has held a series of meetings with Kalenjins living in Nairobi and specifically implored upon them to register in Langata so as to make Nixon Korir an MP.
In other words, whoever clinches the ODM ticket among the following, voter importation notwithstanding, will be a clear frontrunner to be the next MP for Langata. Hon Olum is likely to be judged on the basis of his ending term and signs are that it will be a tall order for him to win the ODM ticket again let alone the Langata parliamentary seat.
From where we seat as stakeholders; we can observe that long time ODM activists Ahmed Papa, Adhiambo Adhiambo, Jacob Ouma Dundos Jobby, start as favourites – in that order – to win the ODM ticket. Papa especially has an enviable track record as a party founding supporter. The widely respected Ahmed Papa was not only born and raised in Langata, he is also known as a steadfast campaigner for CORD leader Raila Odinga who last week raised eyebrows when he personally summoned Papa to the podium in Laini Saba to declare his bid for Langata seat in the presence of incumbent MP Olum.
No one should dismiss Gor Mahia’s Deputy Secretary General, and the only lady in the race so far, Anima Oketch Ferrari who confounded sports pundits when she beat an impressive line up to clinch the Gor Mahia deputy SG position and with it emerge one of the most powerful ladies in Kenyan football. She is known to brush shoulders with influential people in Langata as well as in ODM. For all intents, she will bank on the football fraternity to support her bid.
It will be an interesting race for Langata in 2017. One where DP Ruto has invested heavily and where ODM leader Raila Odinga has personal stakes.