Photo: Youthful lawyer, Hon Ken Obura standing in the middle with Raila to the right and Hon Kaluma (Advocate) to the left during a past event
At a relatively young age of 35, maverick Kisumu Central member of Parliament Ken Obura, popularly known in Kisumu as ‘the Town MP’ already has a colourful political resume.
Obura first first grabbed public attention in 2013 when he beat handsdown favourite Abdulqadir Omar popularly known as Abdul Dubai in the party primaries and eventually in the main election, last week confounded critics when against all expectation, he submitted his nomination application papers at Orange House seeking the ODM ticket for a second term as MP. Not many expected him to do this.
While there is not much doubt about the fiercely competitive nature of ODM politics in Kisumu, especially over loyalty to Party Leader Raila Odinga, senior party functionaries are agreed on one thing; Obura’s ODM opposition in the larger Kisumu County offers no immediate threat to the MP who has curved an enviable niche among the younger ODM legislators of the 11th parliament.
Obura’s independent thinking in ODM circles has rubbed some traditional party conservatives led by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyongo the wrong way. Nyongois a contender for governor in 2017 and last year he severely criticized Obura for “bringing NYS projects to Kisumu and attributing the same to rise in crime”. It is an allegation Obura dismisses saying: “Our NYS cohorts have earned wages that have enabled them to save and acquire SACCO loans leading to reduction in crime and enabling girls to quit prostitution and other unconventional lifestyles!”
Obura’s parliamentary campaign is due to be formally launched in the coming weeks but pundits reckon that his opponents will find hard to defeat is anchored on an impeccable CDF management record that has seen the MP provide a record number of bursaries to Kisumu’s large destitute population and also against all odds, establish and build a secondary school from scratch.
At the legislature, while he is perceived as an ODM rebel, parliamentary hansard proves otherwise. He has voted in solidarity with his party ODM in ALL controversial debates that divided the house right down the middle. His opponents have also found it difficult to pin him down on any instance he is quoted as having gone against his mentor the Party Leader Raila Odinga on any topical issue.
So far former Kisumu Mayor Sam Okello, Siaya MCA Fred Ouda, Bob Madanji, Margaret Ouma, businessmen Abdulqadir Omar and George Ong’udi, former Kisumu Town West MP Ken Nyagudi, former Kisumu East parliamentary aspirant Richard Ogendo, Prof Larry Gumbe and Dan Ajulu have also declared interest in unseating Hon Obura. There are rumours that the defectiing TNA Secretary General may also throw his hat into the ring.