The race for Homa Bay governorship 2022 seat took a new dimension when Suba South MP John Mbadi walked a long distance to meet Homa Bay elders and seek their blessings in his quest for the much coveted county throne.
Not surprisingly, all those out to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti are courting Raila Odinga to rally behind them to win the seat.
Mbadi who is the minority leader in parliament had on Saturday, February 9, bemused many when he trekked for more than 10km from Ndhiwa to Kochia where his mother was born to seek his uncle’s endorsement and blessings.
The road is in poor state and cars cannot pass through which forced Mbadi in company of his relatives to walk reaching Kipingi tired and worn out. Mbadi held talks with his uncles and grandfather. Addressing the crowd at Kochia, the MP said he had come all the way from Suba to Ndhiwa because he recognises origin and believes “the mother is the only one who knows the real father of her child”.
Mbadi described the elders as part of his family “who will never abandon him in time of need”.
“If today I’m told that I’m a child who was born out of wedlock, you are the only people who will stand with me when others turn against me,” Mbadi said.
Mbadi, who is also the chairman of the ODM party said the elders’ blessings are crucial in his journey to becoming Homa Bay county boss and would continue to seek their counsel. “I believe that the blessings that I have gotten from this place will keep me even as I start my campaigns for governorship,” he said.
The MP condemned the poor infrastructure citing roads, hospitals and schools yet they voted in leaders who were supposed to be responsible. He blamed Governor Awiti for the current underdevelopment in the area.
Awiti has been blaming Senator Moses Kajwang’ and Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma for undermining him and Mbadi’s recent outburst is likely to rub Awiti the wrong way. Awiti was quoted as saying: “Anybody who sees Kaluma and Kajwang’ should tell them to stop joking with me. I’ll not contest the governorship in this county again. I need peace so I can deliver services to residents,” Awiti said.
Kajwang’ has written twice to Awiti, asking how the county government seeks to fix the ailing health sector and how it carries out public participation. At one time Kaluma further challenged Awiti’s to resign. He is also eyeing governorship.
On the other hand, Senator Kajwang is under family pressure to run for governorship. During the burial of his mother attended by ODM leader Raila, the elder Kajwang, a retired teacher while mourning his wife challenged Raila to back the senator for governorship 2022 or he will die.
He even said his wife died of stress after Raila failed his quest to be president with his son, Tom Kajwang, the Kasarani MP being arrested for swearing Raila as people’s president.
The family uses the relationship between Raila and their late brother Otieno Kajwang to push for political gains.
Awiti believes that Kaluma and Kajwang junior in order to gain mileage must keep on lambasting his administration.
Awiti was elected in 2013 and reelected in 2017. His major rivals are former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga and Sammy Wakiaga.
Magwaga opposed his victory and sought legal redress. Magwanga had won the case at the High Court forcing Awiti to appeal. During the court proceedings, Awiti is said to have developed high blood pressure as he feared to lose the seat.
When Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s ruling, Awiti health further deteriorated. He was flown overseas for treatment only to resurface when Supreme Court, validated his win, ending the fought court battle.
Among those out to succeed Awiti is Homa Bay woman representative Gladys Wanga. Wanga claims residents of Homa Bay still face numerous challenges ranging from poor health services and dilapidated roads to food insecurity despite billions of shillings sent to the county.
Wanga has support of former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi and his former Karachuonyo legislator Pheobe Asiyo.
Okundi has praised Wanga for her past development record saying if given a chance, she can change the fortunes of the county as Asiyo appealed to Wanga to continue with her initiatives, to ensure women are empowered.
Homa Bay county secretary Isaiah Ogwe is being fronted by Awiti to succeed him. Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo has openly stated that she will not back Wanga.