ODM unveils team to take on Malala, Khalwale in Kakamega
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has unveiled its flagbearers in the Kakamega County gubernatorial and senatorial races ahead of the August general elections.
The Raila Odinga-led party has settled on Dr Brian Lishenga and Fernandes Baraza as its preferred candidates in the senatorial and gubernatorial races respectively.
The leaders were unveiled by ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya after holding a consensus with all the aspirants who were seeking the positions on the party's ticket.
Though Baraza had already been given a direct ticket to fly the party's flag, Oparanya revealed that he had to convince Sambuni Ndombi and Benjamin Andama to shelve their ambitions for the senate seat in favour of Lishenga.
"After lengthy deliberations and negotiations with three ODM aspirants for the Kakamega Senatorial seat, we have reached a consensus that DR Brian Lishenga will fly the party's ticket," Oparanya said.
"I take this opportunity to thank Dr Simbauni Ndombi and Mr Benjamin Andama for voluntarily shelving their political ambitions in favour of Dr Lishenga," he added.
The move by ODM to give Lishenga a direct ticket comes amid a backlash from a faction of party supporters claiming that the party only gives direct tickets to aspirants favoured by its top brass.
Oparanya has however insisted that negotiated democracy is one of the best ways through which the party can find the best candidates for various seats.
During the announcement of Lishenga as the senate candidate, the Kakamega governor also commissioned a team of aspirants who will take on their opponents in the August elections.
"I have today unveiled Dr Lishenga, and the entire county line up which includes; FCPA Fernandes Baraza (Governor) and Hon Elsie Muhanda (Woman Representative," the governor said.
"We now have an ODM team that will deliver the seats for the party in Kakamega."
The move by the opposition party to unveil its candidates for various seats in Kakamega County comes barely a month after their opponents in Kenya Kwanza also did the same.
After a series of meetings led by Deputy President William Ruto, Kenya Kwanza settled on Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala of ANC to contest for the county's gubernatorial seat while former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale of UDA to vie for the Senate seat in the coming elections.
Following the unveiling of the lineup by both teams, Senator Malala will now compete with Baraza for the county's top job as Khalwale battles it out with Lishenga for the Senate seat.