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Ottichilo: I will have a say on who becomes next Vihiga governor

Eugene Kidagisa, Vihiga

It’s barely eight months since Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo inauguration for his second term yet several politicians have begun to draft how to succeed him.

The early positioning for Ottichilo seat who serving his last term as the Governor began in November 2022.

Dr Ottichilo was elected for the first time in 2017 through ODM party ticket, unseating the then governor Moses Akaranga of Progressive Party of Kenya (PPoK). 

Five years later, Ottichilo defended his seat on the same party ticket on the August 9, 2022 general elections.

He was then sworn in on August 25 last year to serve his final Constitutional mandated term.

No sooner had he put the bible down than several politicians started eyeing to succeed him in 2027.

Those notable to have officially declared their interest for the top county seat four years away from the 2027 polls includes three members of the National Assembly. 

Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba, Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala and Makadara Mp George Aladwa have publicly announced to be in the race.

“By 2027 I would give direction as an elder on who is best situated, but for the time  being let’s work together as leaders to deliver for Vihiga people, ” Ottichilo said.

Of them all Aladwa has brought discomfort among many as he is viewed as an outsider in the Vihiga political matrix. 

The Nairobi based vibrant political has spent his entire political life in Nairobi elected twice as Makadara Mp. 

Aladwa an ODM faithful is banking on his political experience to defeat whoever he will face at the ballot in 2027.

The lawmaker has been meeting women groups, youths and clerics in Vihiga county and has also been participating in community functions and funerals as well.

“I have got enough experience to run the show come 2027 elections as I go for Governor’s seat.  I am already in talks with former Governor Moses Akaranga to ensure we have one candidate on the ballot,” he said.

Aladwa said he had initially planned to contest the seat in 2022 under ODM party but changed his mind along the way.

“I had plans to contest for that governor seat but I felt it was not the right time, so I had to go back and defend my Makadara MP seat,” he said.

The lawmaker said he has all the experience to work as a county boss as managing five constituencies and 25 wards won’t give him a headache.

Aladwa a former Nairobi Mayor says if he managed to run Nairobi county with 17 constituencies and 85 wards he is best placed to develop Vihiga.

For Aladwa to occupy the Mbale Offices he has to first fight off competition from two ANC faithfuls- Adagala and Milemba. 

ANC Secretary General Omboko Milemba

The two are currently high-ranking members of Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s affiliated ANC party.

 Milemba has also started making inroads in the county to woo voters to support him come 2027 general elections.

While speaking in a recent burial ceremony at Chandumba in Sabatia constituency, Milemba said he is ready to contest and take the mantle from where Ottichilo will leave the ball.

 “I am a son of this soil, and I have the capacity to lead you people to ensure that devolution goes at par from where my brother Ottichilo leaves,” said Milemba who is serving her third successive term as an MP.

Milemba was on April 18, 2023 nominated to act as Secretary General for the ANC Party. 

Adagala has scoffed off the Makadara MP entry into the Vihiga politics 

She  told off MP Aladwa to retreat from Vihiga politics and focus on the city.

“Aladwa you say you have experience in City politics, why don’t you focus there and leave Vihiga politics for us,” Adagala said.

Adagala is currently serving her second term in office as the Vihiga woman rep and  was appointed as the  ANC second deputy party leader.

She plans to use his political experience to run the show comes 2027.

Adagala and Omboko might be forced to battle out for ANC ticket ahead of the elections as Aladwa is yet to state which party he will be using to contest but he is currently an ODM member.

Their has been rumours of talks to have Milemba and Adagala on one ticked one to deputise another.

The three might get competition in 2027 from some off the rivals Ottichilo faced in 2022 general elections. 

Dr Ottichilo faced former Vihiga senator George Khaniri, former Sabatia Mp Alfred Agoi, former Governor Moses Akaranga and Francis Ominde who once served as Vihiga county secretary.

Political pundits already have predicted the 2027 gubernatorial race to be one of the hotly contested.

The race according to pundits will be decided based on the sub tribe politics and the party affiliation of each candidate.

Vihiga County is predominating with populous Maragoli subtribe that Aladwa, Adagala, Agoi, Akaranga and Ominde hails from.

The many aspirants from Maragoli has being seen as an advantage to Milemba who comes from the second largest Abanyore subtribe

According to Ian Zavani , a political analyst, every candidate would like to eat into the rich Maragoli vote.

Secondly the political parties to be used by the candidates will play a huge role in deciding who wins and controls one of the smallest counties in the republic.

Zavani said if Mudavadi don’t sort out his ANC party troubles he will risks having another party take his home tuff gubernatorial seat. 

“The subtribe politics will play a huge role in deciding who will take over Ottichilo and political parties will play a huge role, ” said Zavani.

It now a wait and see if some of the aspirants will drop out, others join and who will partner with who to win the race.

Governor Ottichilo speaking on April 23, 2023 said he will give the direction on who would be suited to succeed him come 2027.

“By 2027 I would give direction as an elder on who is best situated, but for the time  being let’s work together as leaders to deliver for Vihiga people, ” Ottichilo said.

The governor has further scoffed at those with early 2027 campaigns telling them to allow all leaders to deliver on their manifestos.

The governor also believes that it will be the voters of Vihiga who will decide who they want to succeed him.

Vihiga County Assembly Speaker Chris Omulele is also said to have set his eyes on the governorship seat. Sources have it that he is quietly laying a winning strategy to replace Ottichilo when he retires in 2027.

Ends

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