Prior to yesterday’s string of by-elections, ODM, and by extension, UDA, were the parties expected to make major statements. ODM, through its extensive web of local area networks, and UDA, through its seemingly inexhaustible supply of finances, had concentrated their energies across the entire spectrum within which by-elections were being conducted, and each hoped to outdo the other.
However, as the results began to trickle in, both parties realised that they wouldn’t be bagging the victories they had hoped for. In the case of UDA, their reaction to their dismal performances were overshadowed by their post-election predicament which entailed a string of legal woes.
One of their observers, former Sports CS Rashid Echesa, had become a fugitive who police were in hot pursuit of, after a video of him allegedly assaulting an election official went viral, while another group of legislators allied to the party, and who included Cherargei and Didmas Barasa, were locked up for other election related offenses.
However, it was ODM’s official statement, authored by the party’s Executive Director, Oduor Ong’wen, that surprised many. While conceding defeat, in a move that was commendable and quite welcome, the party then went on to pat itself on the back for its second and third positions in Kakamega and Huruma respectively.
This attracted a barrage of surprised comments, and ridicule as well. Curiously using the word “celebrate”, the statement read in part,
“We also celebrate our candidate in Matungu Constituency of Kakamega County, Hon. David Were. Even though the result is not exactly what we had aimed for, coming a very strong second with close to 11,000 votes against14,000 combined efforts of ANC, FORD Kenya, KANU and Wiper parties confirms that ODM remains the Party to beat nationally. The local campaign team led by our Deputy Party Leader, Governor Wycliffe A. Oparanya, did us proud.Mr. Andrew Sure, our candidate in Huruma Ward, Turbo Constituency in Uasin Gishu, deserves recognition for a strong showing, finishing a respectable third in a crowded field of 13 candidates – in the constituency of domicile of the nation’s Deputy President”