Orange Democratic Movement is mulling over the way forward for Msambweni by-election party nominations for fear that Tanga Tanga wing of Jubilee has schemes of infiltrating the process and having ODM support a weak candidate.
At the same time, opting for a direct ODM nomination has the risk of causing rifts and eventual fallout ahead of the by-election, a move likely to compromise the performance of the picked candidate.
The heckling of ODM chairman John Mbadi during the funeral of MP Suleiman Dori has been reviewed several times at the party headquarters and the conclusion is that the party should approach the by-election with a lot of care to avoid embarrassment.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga has reportedly been making random calls to several individuals in the county to get first hand information about the situation on the ground.
The Tanga Tanga camp whose Kwale pointman is Governor Salim Mvurya has already identified Bakari Sebe, a political greenhorn as the candidate of choice. Sebe is a relative of the governor’s deputy and preferred successor Fatuma Achani. He is the CEC for finance in Kwale county government.
Sebe has readily accepted to enter the race following a promise that in case he loses, he will be reappointed back to his position. Millions of shillings are being budgeted for his campaigns. County contractors are being approached to contribute to Sebe campaign kitty.
According to sources, Achani wants to use Sebe’s candidature to test the ground for her own governor campaigns in 2022. Mvurya has announced that Achani is his choice of successor.
Back to ODM, it is emerging that among the aspirants, the county’s ODM vice chairman Nicholas Zani is being seen as a front runner. Zani is a party insider having been Raila’s chief agent for Kwale county in the last general elections. He is a well known party operative in Msambweni and in the county as a whole.
He runs his businesses including restaurants in Ukunda town. Ukunda is cosmopolitan and has the highest number of voters in Msambweni constituency. He is a Christian Digo.
Zani’s candidature has not gone down well with the other ODM aspirants.
For instance, Omar Boga who contested for the seat as an independent candidate in the last general elections after losing ODM nomination to ex-MP Dori is said to have contacted Wiper party ‘to preserve space’. Former Transport minister Chirau Mwakwere who is from Kwale is Wiper party acting chairman.
According to insiders, Boga was in Nairobi last week and held talks with Wiper party officials. Sources say, he is afraid of going for party nominations. He has been campaigning for a direct nomination.
He is a brother of Agriculture PS Hamad Boga whose appointment was brokered by Abdul Mwasera, a top administrator in William Ruto’s office.
However, Boga’s critics claim he does not enjoy the backing of voters from upcountry in Ukunda who allege he discriminated against them when he served as Gombato/Bongwe MCA, in bursary allocations.
They further allege he orchestrated the sacking from beach hotels, workers from upcountry and replaced them with locals. It is claimed this was why ODM by-passed him in the last general elections and settled on Dori who eventually won the Msambweni seat.
Boga has been using local Muslim leaders to warn ODM against giving a direct nomination to a relative of late MP Dori in line with the formula used in the Kibra by-election and also earlier in the Kwale senate by-election after the death of senator Boy Juma Boy.