The stage is set for yet another showdown in the battle to clinch the vacant Migori senatorial seat after Governor Okoth Obado rejected the nomination of his political nemesis, Ochillo Ayacko, by the ODM top organ on Thursday.
Addressing his supporters in Migori Town after the Court of Appeal upheld his election victory which had been challenged by Mr Ayacko, Mr Obado said he did not recognize his rival’s nomination to fly the ODM flag, falling short of declaring that he would support another candidate during the by-election.
He urged residents to ignore the party’s choice and support a candidate of their choice.
“I cannot support a boardroom decision made by a few people in Nairobi,” Mr Obado said while addressing his supporters in Migori Town.
Mr Ayacko’s nomination was also opposed by former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, who expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s decision and vowed to remain in the race.
“I totally disagree with the party. I am still in the race and will run as an independent candidate,” Mr Otieno said.
Also upset with the party’s decision was Mr Mark Okundi, the nephew of the late senator Ben Oluoch Okello.
The family of the late senator had appealed to the party to give Mr Okundi the ticket as a consolation.
Mr Okundi said he is considering running as an independent candidate. “We are consulting and will give a way forward later as a family,” Mr Okundi said.
Mr Kennedy Makasembo also expressed his disappointment.
“We will meet Mr Ochillo, the ODM nominee on the ballot; my name will be on the ballot on October 8,” Mr Makasembo, a high school teacher, said.
In Nairobi, the party’s National Elections Board explained that it reached the decision to nominate Mr Ayacko directly due to lack of resources and lack of enough time to conduct nominations in all the 800 polling stations in the county.
“We held a meeting with seven out of the eight aspirants and explained to them about the time and financial constraints and why we settled on direct nominations,” chairperson of the Board, Ms Judy Pareno, said.
She stated that all other candidates who had expressed interest to get the party’s ticket had endorsed the decision.
Of the eight aspirants who had applied by close of applications on July 20, former MPs John Pesa, Ochieng Mbeo, Mr Willis Okelo Oluoch, Mr Gordon Ogola, Mr Otieno and Mr Ayacko had attended the consultations and briefing.