How Sangwenyas, a lean team of three helped Obado easily defeat Ayacko- Orero

Migori governor Okoth Obado (C) takes the oath of office after being re-elected. Judge Judge Reuben Nyakundi (R) and magistrate Richard Odenyo help in the process

By MN Reporter

The plan for Migori governor Okoth Obado second term in office started just a year after being elected for the first time.

In an interview with Migori News, Obado’s director of politics Denis Orero said the team started the quest way back in 2014 after being elected under the People Democratic Party (PDP).

The move started by Obado joining and later winning the populous Orange Democratic Movement party ticket despite being considered an ‘outsider’.

“Our plan was to join back the ODM party and fight from within for our political space despite having more political odds stack against us, it was a process which started earlier by taking part in by-elections across the country,” Orero said.

He said the culmination of the defection was on July 7, 2016 at Migori County Stadium when party leader Raila Odinga personally welcomed Obado back, putting his critics to shame.

The team comprised of Orero, who had connection in Orange House and was to deal with any issues of getting certificate from there.

READ MORE HERE: I call on Ayacko, opponents to work together for Migori- Obado in swearing in

The other was Chief of Protocol Moses Ouma, who was Odinga’s former Personal Assistant, was tasked with Capitol Hill office of former premier.

Migori governor Okoth Obado bows as Cord leader Raila Odinga gives him an ODM cap at Migori county stadium when he defected

“The efforts started to bear as Ida, Raila’s elder brother Oburu Oginga and ODM chairman and Suba MP John Mbadi started attending functions hosted by the governor,” Orero said.

The nomination drama

Although the team was assured of a direct nomination ticket in PDP, getting the ODM ticket was tested to the limit in the April 24 primaries.

Obado was facing former cabinet minister Ochilo Ayacko, former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga’s wife Anne and former Sony Sugar MD Paul Odola for the ticket.

“Among them Ayacko was the main rival, he managed to outmaneuvered us by having all clerks, returning and presiding officers,” Orero said.

The Migori TTC tallying center became an epicenter of clash with raw emotions which ended up by Obado being declared the winner while a rival center was set at Hillview Hotel and declared Ayacko.

“We knew we had carried the day when the official returning officer Samuel Olala announced us winners at the designated venue. That was the minimum requirement,” Orero said.

The October 8 election secretariat

Migori governor Okoth Obado looks on as his DG Mwita Mahanga addresses the crowd last week

The last phase of campaigns, after winning the ODM ticket was to face off again in general election with Ayacko who chose the independent route.

Orero said throughout the campaigns the team was personally headed at the top by Obado, his wife Helen and son Dan.

“It was a gruesome campaign and we never underestimated Ayacko who gave us sleepless nights,” Orero said terming their rival as a tenacious and experienced politician.

From the family, the next in command at the secretariat was Orero, Ouma, county executive Elijah Odhiambo, Chief of Staff Solomon Oluoch, Personal Assistant Caspal Obiero and Director Dominic Akugo.

The chief agent was Ben Owadi, a long term friend of Obado.

A group of die hard Obado supporters pooled through eight constituencies, professional, women, youths and elders termed ‘Sangwenyas’ helped in campaigning from door-to-door.

“Ayacko is an experienced politician, a tenacious campaigner and was good at twisting facts to suit his agenda. To beat him we worked on his Awendo and Rongo constituency backyards more,” Obiero revealed.

READ MORE HERE:Ayacko files petition, wants Obado punished for election offences

Obiero said they divided Rongo and Awendo into wards and placed independent campaign teams in each area which only received boost by presence of the main team to close down the winning gap for him.

“Across the county in all 40 wards and eight constituencies we had town hall campaigns on focus groups of teachers, medics, elders, youths and women who we passed through,” Obiero said.

The two said they established a tallying center at undisclosed venue in the team with a team of IT experts who had two provided phone number for all agents in 826 polling centers in Migori.

“By 12 hours when polling centers were closed and tallying started results from 576 polling centers showed we had hit 63 per cent of votes, won in six out of eight constituencies with minimum gap in Awendo and Rongo. We popped the champagne then,” Obiero said.

According to results announced by IEBC county RO Charles Mutai, Obado won with 201,367 votes against Ayacko’s 113,673 votes.

Migori governor Okoth Obado receives his winner certificate from IEBC county RO Charles Mutai as wife Hellen looks on after being announced winner at Migori TTC tallying center

The results have since been contested in the High Court with the case still ongoing at Migori High court.

READ MORE HERE:Obado, lawyers confident of a resounding win in Ochilo election petition case

While issuing a victory speech during his inauguration, Obado called on politicians across the county to unite to push the county forward in development.

He promised to strengthen education, water and agriculture projects with flagship governor bursary, dairy farming and borehole construction receiving more funding.