On a sunny Monday afternoon in July, ODM leader Raila Odinga called on stage Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his nemesis Ochillo Ayacko. A handshake followed and they both, reluctantly, announced they had buried the hatchet.
The occasion on July 9 was the burial of Mr Ben Oluoch, who had been the Migori senator. The implication was that it provided an opportunity for the ODM leader to pacify two rivals whose contest was punctuated with violence in the last General Election.
That bid of convincing Mr Ayacko to drop the petition against Mr Obado in exchange for readmission into ODM and run as a candidate for the Senate, could have unified these rivals.
Instead, it split the party further.
Last week, ODM confirmed that Mr Ayacko would run on its ticket when the by-election comes up in October. But the first opponent to that decision was Mr Obado.
Nominations for the most popular party in Nyanza have previously been marred with claims of irregularities with the ODM Chairman John Mbadi admitting this time around the method used was also not the best. But he cites lack of funds, and the direction issued by Mr Odinga.
Last week, the party went for direct nomination ostensibly after a survey by Infotrak showed Mr Ayacko is the most popular contender.
"All the aspirants knew we would issue a direct ticket because we held a meeting with them over the matter," Mr Mbadi told a crowd in Ndhiwa on Sunday.
He argued the party needed Sh30 million to conduct the nominations through universal suffrage, which it couldn’t get on short notice and that there was fear of violence.
"Why are we bringing trouble even after Mr Odinga brokered a truce between Mr Ayacko and the governor? Those opposing Mr Odinga will meet us on the ground," said Mr Mbadi.
In a way, mistrust, supremacy battle and positioning for the 2022 General Election is responsible for the continued rivalry between the Mr Obado and the former minister.
The county chief is keen on who will succeed him and Mr Ayacko is not among his options.
He told journalists some of the ODM leaders attacking him now did not back him at the last election despite that fact that he was an Orange party candidate.
“They campaigned for my opponent (Mr Ayacko), who stood as an Independent then and they have not been disciplined by the party. I will not be intimidated,” he said. “Nobody is more special than the other in the Orange party. This impunity and double standards should not be allowed in the party."
STILL WANT TO RUN
The governor served his first term on a PDP ticket, profiting from divisions within ODM and the fact that PDP was an ally of Cord. Last year he joined ODM.
The move by ODM has also disenfranchised other seasoned politicians.
Former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Nyatike legislator Edick Anyanga had eyed the post. They said they were disappointed and insisted they still want to run.
Yesterday, several Migori leaders issued a joint statement, saying they support the nominations. They included Mr Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Tom Odege (Nyatike) and Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Pamela Odhiambo (woman representative).