Ochilo Ayacko(L) and Okoth Obado(R)
By Scophine Otieno
Voters in Migori County are bracing themselves for a bruising political showdown as Governor Okoth Obado faces his bitter rival - former Minister Ochilo Ayacko in the fight for the county’s top seat in the August elections. Governor Obado, who has overcome numerous challenges ever since he returned to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) from the People’s Democratic Movement (PDP) is going full throttle to defend his seat while Mr Ayacko has sworn to send him home. The battle will be one of the toughest in Nyanza, if the two continue with tension packed and sometimes violent campaigns witnessed during the primaries. Obado won the ODM ticket, forcing Ayacko to enter the race as an Independent candidate. Ayacko, bitter that he missed the ODM ticket is on a revenge mission but Obado, being backed by party Leader Raila Odinga, is exuding confidence of defeating him on August 8. Several factors are at play in the bruising battle. Obado not only has the advantage of incumbency that comes with resources et al’, he also has the ODM certificate, the most popular party in Luo Nyanza thus giving him an edge. However, when the history of Migori is being written, it goes down as the first and only county in Nyanza to elect a governor on a party different from ODM in 2013. The electorate ditched the ODM duo of Prof Oyugi Akong’o and Anne Anyanga and opted for Obado, who lost the ODM nominations and came back with a PDP ticket. ALSO READ: About-turn: Muthama and Kalonzo reconcile ODM County branch, led by chairman Philip Makabong’o, have declared their support for Ayacko, but this remains to be seen, given that Raila has thrown his weight behind the governor. “Even the party headquarters is aware of our decision. We know the nominations were shambolic and choose to stand with Ayacko for governor and Raila for president,” Makabong’o said. The two have split the eight constituencies with Ayacko vaunting support in the Sugar belt region of his home turf of Awendo Sub-County, Rongo where his wife comes from and Awendo, Suna East and West. He also goes down as the young lawyer who beat veteran politician Dalmas Otieno twice to clinch the then larger Rongo parliamentary seat. Obado enjoys support in Uriri his home turf, Nyatike, Kuria East and West with his former deputy and the one he has picked hitherto both coming from the region. It is believed and the governor has often proclaimed that he beat Oyugi in 2013 because Kuria community overwhelmingly voted because he picked a running mate from the region. However, with Ayacko also going for a Kuria running mate, it will be interesting to see how the clan politics will play out.
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