The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has moved swiftly to quell an imminent fall out in Migori county pitting the party top hierarchy against local politicians.
This came after the Opposition party handpicked former Rongo MP Ochilo Ayacko to fly the Orange party flag in the senatorial by-election slated for October 8.
Raila invited aspirants ho public their declaration to support the ODM candidate.
The seat which fell vacant following ex-Senator Ben Oluoch’s death attracted at least eight candidates.
During the meeting, Raila reiterated the need for extensive consultations among party members with a view to strengthening the support base for the chosen candidate.
“As a party, we have had extensive consultations with all the members and they have agreed to support the party candidate, Ochilo Ayacko. The formal presentation is going to take place tomorrow in Migori County, after which the campaigns will start,” he said.
The Party released the following statement.
“ODM Leader Mr Raila Odinga says the party is not intending to take any disciplinary action against the Governor of Migori Mr Okoth Obado for his opposition to the party’s candidate for the vacant senatorial seat Dr. Ochillo Ayacko.
Addressing the media at Orange House today shortly after chairing a meeting of aspirants who vied for the party ticket in the just concluded nomination in which the party settled on Dr. Ayacko, Mr Odinga said the party believes in democracy and that it will not be instituting disciplinary action against the Governor who is an ODM Life Member.
“We have been seeing him on the media talking about how he will not support the party candidate but nothing formal or written has been received from him to that regard” said the ODM Leader.
He said although Mr Obado had not written to the party formally to express his displeasure in the party’s choice, he is free to campaign for his candidate “and we shall campaign for our candidate”.
During the meeting, the five aspirants who included a son and nephew to the former senator the Late Ben Okello Oluoch declared their unwavering support for Dr. Ayacko and promised to join him in the campaigns that begin tomorrow.
The aspirants who included former legislators Mr. John Pesa (Migori) and Mr. Omondi Anyanga (Nyatike) said they will not renege against the party and that they will walk with Dr. Ayacko in every part of the County to drum up support for him.
The other aspirants are Mr Mark Okundi, Mr Willis Okello and Mr Eddy Oketch who vied for the same seat in the August 8 general election and emerged number two after the late Sen. Oluoch.
At the same time Mr Odinga dismissed claims that the party handpicked a candidate and that it had imposed the former MP for Rongo on the people of Migori saying the option for a direct nomination is provided for in the party constitution and the election and nomination rules. “Infact the media should be the ones educating people on this. There is a thin line between nomination and election. What we did was nomination and election will be on October 8 this year” said Mr Odinga.
He urged the people of Migori to stand with the party candidate in the by-election.
Director of Communications, ODM