CORD leader Raila Odinga now wants residents of Homa Bay County to vote in honour of prominent leaders in Nyanza as a sign of respect to the bereaved families.
Raila said the forthcoming by-election should be used by voters to demonstrate respect to the families of the late Senator Otieno Kajwang’ and his son Fidel Odinga.
Speaking in Mbita and Sindo towns in Mbita and Suba constituencies yesterday during a rally to drum up support for ODM candidate for Homa Bay senatorial by-election Moses Kajwang’, Raila said the two deaths had caused him a big setback.
“Everybody knows that Otieno Kajwang’ was a very close friend of mine with whom we played significant roles to transform this country. The death of Kajwang’ will always remain memorable in my mind. The same applies to my son Fidel, hence you should vote our candidate if you really love the families,” Raila said.
He promised to award the best constituency, which will take heed of his request.
“If you elect Moses you will have pledged allegiance to the family of the late Otieno Kajwang’ and giving him 97 per cent of the votes will mean paying tribute to Fidel,” he added.
In what seemed to be targeting legislators who are opposed to the party’s choice in the Homa Bay senatorial contest, Raila said it is wrong for a Member of Parliament to turn against the party, which to took him to Parliament.
Even though he never mentioned names, Raila warned that such legislators may face serious disciplinary measures if they fail to change.
“We have legislators who are given a ball and decide to score in their own goal instead of the opponent’s goal. I want to warn them that the world will teach them a lesson,” added the former Premier.
Raila said he had started talks with some of the candidates who ditched ODM after the botched nomination to ensure Kajwang’ goes unopposed but the candidates had declined.
“I had told Fred Rabongo (National Vision Party) to withdraw from this race but he refused ,” he added.
Philip Okundi (Maendeleo Democratic Party) and Rabongo ditched the Orange party over what they termed as unfairness in the manner in which Kajwang’ was nominated.
Withdrawal of the two candidates has really caused a stiff competition to ODM, a situation which has now forced Mr Odinga to camp in the county to convince the locals to vote the party choice.
Siaya Senator James Orengo told the residents to vote wisely on grounds that Homa Bay had always produced the best debaters in Parliament hence, the entire Kenya is watching it.
“We need people who can help us fight at the national level to ensure Raila becomes the next president of Kenya because we have seen our candidate can do so,” said Orengo.
ODM National Chairman John Mbadi who is the MP for Suba and his Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo assured the electorate that they are going to jealously guard votes at the polling stations.
Women representatives Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Christine Ombaka (Siaya) and Rose Nyamunga (Kisumu) told the locals to avoid anything that may deter them from voting.
Wanga told the residents to abide by an informal agreement that was made to share top elective posts in the county. “We know very well that Suba, Homa Bay and Rachuonyo regions have their share. We need to give this seat to the region that deserves it,” Wanga said.
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said a win to ODM will be a plus to the party. Legislators Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Dr James Nyikal (Seme) and Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to handle the election keenly to avoid any malpractice.
Raila visited various trading centres in Sub and Mbita constituencies in the the second day tour of the county.
The eight candidates vying for the senatorial seat converged yesterday at Homa Bay High School hall for a live debate. The debate is sponsored by Standard Group.
The one-hour debate that kicked off yesterday at 7:30pm gave the candidates a chance to debate pertinent issues affecting the county. The candidates also had the chance to sell their campaign agenda to the electorate. They also answered questions from the audience.