By Mohammed Warsama
THE victory of the pro-Ruto independent candidate in Msambweni, Feisal Bader, over the ODM candidate Omar Boga is a major setback to Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho in his ambition to establish himself as the Coast regional political baron.
The defeat of Omar Boga is a serious wakeup call to ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga that his influence over the Coast region is waning.
That the ODM candidate lost despite endorsement by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the behest of Raila is a rebuff to The Handshake.
On Thursday December 10 Raila attended a Boga rally in Ukunda when word came through that DP William Ruto was on his way to Kwale to join his troops in the campaign for Feisal.
Alarmed, Raila hastily arranged for Uhuru who was in Mombasa opening bridges to receive and endorse Boga.
Uhuru obliged. Boga made a short hasty speech and left Raila at the rally as he dashed to Mombasa to meet the President.
The photo of Boga and the President which was on the State House FB page appears to have been deleted following Boga’s defeat. The loss of Msambweni which had consistently voted for ODM since 2007 is a sign of a waning influence of the once popular party at the Coast. It is yet another headache for Raila.
But the biggest casualty of the Msambweni poll outcome is Governor Joho who saw Msambweni as the launch pad for his ambition to become the supreme regional leader for the Coast.
Becoming the uncontested regional leader would have strengthened Joho’s ambition to pursue a national leadership post. He is on record saying he wants to be President.
Such ambition is unlikely however given that Raila Odinga has no intention of giving room to anyone to take over from him. Ask James Orengo, he knows that very well.
What will Joho do now ? Clearly Msambweni has shown he has no clout outside Mombasa county where also there are growing signs of disillusionment with Joho and Raila.
The new year will be a crucial indicator to the political fortunes of both.
But for Raila another headache awaits him with two upcoming by-elections in Western. The IEBC today Wednesday December 4 2020 fixed next March 4 as the date for a by-election in Matungu following the recent death of MP Murunga.
A by-election in Kobuchai following the recent death of James Lusweti the incumbent MP is also likely to be held in March. Murunga was ANC and Lusweti Ford-K.
It will be interesting to see if Jubilee will field candidates alongside ODM.
Raila will likely assign Kakamega Governor Oparanya to lead the ODM campaigns in both constituencies.
If Oparanya who also toyed with running for President like Joho performs well in those campaigns, he will overshadow Joho in the race to succeed Raila.
Should Raila party lose the two by-elections in Western, it will spell the beginning of the end for ODM as a national party. For Raila, instead of BBI being Building Bridges Initiative, it will mean Bondo Back Initiative.
Clearly worrisome days await the Party of Cows.
Let’s enjoy fluffy pancakes while watching a cow comedy by Mexican comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Fluffy Goes To India.