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New front opens in the battle for Kisii senate seat

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Janet Ong’era.

Janet Ong’era.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JACKLINE MORAA moraajm@yahoo.com  (email the author)
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Posted  Sunday, February 10  2013 at  00:30
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The possible nomination of ODM secretariat director Janet Ong’era has become a major issue in the contest for the Kisii Senate seat between Cabinet ministers Sam Ongeri and Chris Obure.

Mr Obure, the Public Works minister, and his Foreign Affairs counterpart Ongeri, will contest the seat on the Cord and Jubilee tickets respectively.

Ms Ong’era tops the list of likely ODM nominees to represent women’s interests at the national level.

Prof Ongeri’s campaign team is urging voters to shun Mr Obure, saying his constituency — and the Ababasi clan — had already secured a ticket for the senate race.

However, Mr Obure on Friday dismissed this, saying Ms Ong’era’s nomination would only be possible if ODM clinches a lot of seats, including the Kisii senate slot.

“She has been a huge asset to the ODM secretariat and her appointment has nothing to do with Kisii politics. It is based on merit, qualifications and is still a proposal,” said Mr Obure.

Ms Ong’era said her possible nomination was meant to boost women’s representation in the senate and accused Prof Ongeri’s camp of spreading “cheap propaganda”.

“The nomination is not based on clans as Prof Ongeri’s camp is suggesting. I urge all my supporters to refuse to yield to propaganda and vote for ODM candidates,” she said.

Some local leaders have asked Mr Obure to cede ground to ensure a regional balance.

Knut official Sammy Nyairo said the minister should pave way for Ms Ong’era.