By The Weekly Vision
Busia Governor Dr Paul Otuoma’s appearance at Governor Simba Arati’s Thanksgiving rally in Kisii caught many unawares, considering that he has not been attending ODM meetings. Dr. Otuoma is one of the governors who has, in the recent past, defied ODM party leadership by pledging to work with President William Ruto’s administration.
The governor has accompanied the president to several events in Busia, the State House, and even on trips abroad, often using those opportunities to declare his support for President Ruto while castigating Raila Odinga and the ODM party.
Analysts now wonder why he has decided to cut links with William Ruto and is now pledging to work with Raila Odinga and ODM, although sources say the ground is hostile to his brand of politics.
Initially, the governor was thought to have been brought on board to team up with Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba to tilt the political equation in Busia in favour of the president in readiness for the 2027 elections. The governor believed that a combination of him and Ababu would have helped the president make political inroads in Busia County, only to realise that the ground is hostile and no one wants to listen to UDA. Insiders say the ground has been hostile towards the governor to the extent that he now finds it difficult to address meetings or even attend social gatherings in some parts of the county.
The governor also realised that time was running out and that ODM could start grooming another individual to replace him ahead of the 2027 elections. Apart from facing hostility on the ground, the governor must have realised that the president has been making empty promises to him and to the people of Busia, which has put him on a collision course with the electorate.
Further, he must have been pushed to come back into ODM’s main fold after realising that Raila Odinga is currently rebranding the ODM party through recruitment rallies countrywide and that he was going to be locked out of party activities, including in the forthcoming party elections. Those who have been keenly watching political events as they unfold in Busia County must have realised that President Ruto is not keen on supporting Dr Otuoma in 2027 but is keen on Sakwa Bunyasi.
The absence of Otuoma at ODM meetings was not taken well by ODM leader Raila Odinga, who, according to sources, had fallen out with the governor during the 2017 elections after he allegedly engineered the ODM nomination in favour of then-governor Sospeter Ojamoong to defend his gubernatorial seat.
It is being claimed that Raila Odinga had started sending warning signals to the governor that ODM still had options to sponsor someone else to fly the ODM party flag in 2027. The ODM nominations in 2022 were not a walk in the right direction for Dr. Otuoma. Florence Mutua gave him a run for his money after she garnered 30,696 votes against Otuoma’s 49,330 votes.