John Mbadi, the chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), has withdrawn from the Homa Bay governor race.
The Suba South legislator will instead concentrate on his party leader, Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign.
In a statement on Monday, the ODM chairman, who also doubles as the Minority leader in the National Assembly, disclosed that even though it was difficult to exit the gubernatorial contest, the decision was borne out of his unquestionable commitment to the party, the quest for the national growth and stability and the support for his party leader.
“I have today withdrawn my bid from the Homabay County gubernatorial race. I will therefore henceforth place more effort in the Azimio presidential bid and the nationwide bid to have ODM secure as many seats as possible,” Mbadi said.
Mbadi is alleged to have decided to withdraw from the battle to fly the party’s ticket after reaching an agreement with Raila’s top brass.
Area Woman Rep Gladys Wanga is set to hoist the party’s flag, with Oyugi Magwanga as her deputy.
Moses Kajwang, the current Homabay Senator, is eyeing the same seat.
Mbadi’s decision comes after it was revealed that the ODM party has decided to hand direct tickets to the most popular candidates rather than hold primaries.
The National Election Board has pledged to refund nomination fees to the unsuccessful candidates in places where a ticket had attracted more than one eligible candidate and the party had granted a direct ticket.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane, who is seeking re-election on an ODM ticket, is one of the aspirants denied a chance to run for the seat through a competitive nomination process. Instead, his opponent Nathif Jama received a direct ticket from the party.
“I wish to inform you that the party received other applications for the same position and upon consultations, reviews and polling, resolved it shall not be conducting a competitive nomination for the position of candidate for Governor of the county of Garissa,” read the letter signed by ODM NEB Chairperson Catherine Mumma.
Mumma noted that the issuance of the direct ticket was in accordance with rules 8 and 23 of the party’s primary and nomination rules of 2021.
“In accordance with rule 23 (6) of the party primaries and nomination rules,the party has commenced the processing of Ksh 500,000 being a refund of the nomination fees that you paid in support of your application,” Mumma added.
The Orange party is expected to hold its primaries from April 1 to April 22.