ODM pain: Ugenya, Embakasi South mini-polls loss as Sumra, Karan fall

ODM suffered heavy defeat in Friday’s by-elections (Ugenya and Embakasi South constituencies) after their candidates both finished second.

Raila Odinga’s party lost the Ugenya seat, in his Siaya backyard, where David Ochieng trounced Chris Karan by 18,730 votes to 14,507 votes.

He (Ochieng) contested on little-known MDG party.

In Embakasi South, Irshad Sumra, who had successfully petitioned Julius Mawathe’s election in 2017, lost to the same opponent amid claims of electoral malpractice.

Election officials

Mawathe (Wiper) garnered 21,432 votes against Sumra’s 7,900 votes in the contest that attracted 15 candidates. Credius Oigara came last with a paltry 172 votes.

Sumra, who served as area MP between 2007 and 2013, had complained that some of the election officials were pro-Mawathe.

“We have made a complaint against some presiding officers who are well known supporters of Mawathe and have been campaigning for him,” Sumra, accompanied by ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, said after voting.

It is unclear whether Sumra will challenge the result again but it is unlikely going by the sentiments of some of his supporters.

They feel it will lead to electoral fatigue on the voters and ruin his chances should he wish to contest again in 2022.

“The best thing he can do now is to let Mawathe finish his term,” one voter told Kurunzi.

“Then focus on the mistakes he is likely to make so that he comes stronger against the incumbent in three years’ time.”

Ruto versus Odinga rivalry

This will be viewed as a major loss for Odinga, considering that Jubilee did not field candidates in the mini-polls. The Deputy President William Ruto campaigned for Mawathe and will consider this a major victory against Odinga.

Odinga led the ODM brigade in drumming support for Sumra only a few days to the end of the campaign period.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria suggested Odinga should support him in his quest for the presidency come 2022.

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