The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) lost the South Gem ward seat for second consecutive time in its home turf of Siaya county.
Independent Brian Achieng Obiero garnered 3,569 votes against his closest competitor Polycarp Wanga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, who got 3,453 votes, beating seven other candidates of the hotly contested by-election held on Thursday, December 8, 2022.
In the 2017 general elections, David Audi of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) party formed by Kenya’s former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Philip Murgor splitting from Kanu beat the ODM candidate for the seat.
Obiero was declared the winner by IEBC’s Returning Officer for South Gem by-election Ezekiel Juma.
South Gem by-election, which had attracted eight candidates, was occasioned by the death of the ODM candidate Nick Wanga on July 9th, 2022 which was 30 days to the general elections on August 9th.
Wanga a brother of the current Kisumu City manager Aballa Wanga was hospitalised after attending a rally in Gem. He had complained of body pains.
Wanga won the South Gem Ward ODM ticket in the party primaries held on April 13 and was subsequently cleared by the IEBC to participate in the August 9 elections.
Achieng’s win shows voters open defiance of voting for Raila Odinga’s ODM candidates in the party’s home turf of Luo Nyanza.
Homa Bay county assembly is progressively getting independent MCAs elected in the last three general elections.
The county, which has 40 wards, has seen a fluctuation in the number of MCAs getting elected on ODM despite the party’s dominance in the area.
In 2013, five MCAs entered the county assembly on different party tickets.
In 2017, the county assembly had only one independent candidate, Paul Adika of Lambwe ward in the Suba North constituency.
It also saw John Njira win the West Karachuonyo ward in Karachuonyo constituency on Wiper.
ODM had 38 out of 40 MCAs who were elected.
But in the August 9 general elections the number of independent MCAs increased from one to eight.
The wave has seen an independent MCA candidate win at the ward of ODM national chairman John Mbadi.
Susan Onyango has declared MCA elect for Gwassi South ward.
Onyango outshined the incumbent Nicholas Ayieta of ODM who was defending his seat.
Other independent MCAs are Walter Adongo of South Kabuoch ward in Ndhiwa constituency, Tony Otieno (Arujo ward, Homa Bay Town), Samuel Obwana (Homa Bay West ward, Homa Bay Town ).
Paul Odok (Gem East ward, Rangwe), David Odhiambo (Kagan ward, Rangwe ), George Odera (Kibiri ward, Karachuonyo ) and Vikings Bondo (West Kasipu ward, Kasipul).
Political observer Patrick Agwagra said the county assembly keeps getting more independent MCAs candidates because of ODM’s poor primaries.
He argued residents who were not satisfied with the party primaries vote for independent candidates.
“We have people who voted for independent candidates to express their dissatisfaction with ODM. That’s why the number has increased,” Agwagra said.
Only nine MCAs managed to retain their seats in the county in the August 9 polls.
They include Michael Nyang’i (Kochia ward), Nicholas Owaka (Kanyamwa Kosewe), Richard Ogindo (Kwabwai), David Oloo (Kanyamwa Kologi), Raphael Odongo (Kasgunga), Jeff Ongoro (Kanyaluo), Bob Obondo (Central Kasipul) and Joan Ogada (Kojwach).