ODM officials have threatened to take disciplinary action against Migori Governor Okoth Obado for opposing the party's decision to directly nominate former cabinet minister Ochillo Ayacko as its candidate for the vacant Senate seat.
The move comes as the party announced that it will lay out an elaborate campaign machinery to recapture the seat left vacant by the death of former Senator Ben Oluoch-Okello two months ago.
This follows reports that at least four candidates, who unsuccessfully sought the Orange ticket, had expressed the desire to either seek the seat as independent candidates or move to other parties altogether.
On Sunday, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, also the Orange party’s director of elections, said the party will mount vigorous campaigns in the Migori’s eight sub counties.
“This is an ODM zone and if anybody thinks he can outsmart us, he will be shocked,” he said.
Sources indicated that the party is set to form at least five different campaign teams, to be led by MPs, that will pitch camp in different areas to seek votes.
And the political dynamics in the cosmopolitan county is informing some of the campaign plans, with different messages being put up for different regions. Migori has the Luo, Luhya, Kuria and Somali communities in sizeable numbers.
The Raila Odinga-led party last Friday handed Mr Ayacko, out of eight candidates who had applied, a direct ticket to go for the seat in the October 8 by-election.
This occurred only hours after Ayacko’s election petition at the Kisumu Court of Appeal, against Obado’s win was thrown out with Sh4.5 million costs on him.
But the decision was opposed by Mr Obado, who further called on residents to reject the candidate as he was being ‘forced onto the electorate’ by a clique of individuals from Nairobi.
However, speaking during a fundraiser in Suna West, Mr Mohamed and director of political affairs Opiyo Wandayi, slammed the governor, calling him a traitor.
"We will not accept traitors in the party. It cannot be that you are happy when you are given an ODM ticket to run for office but you get angry when someone else is given," said Mr Mohamed.
He added: "If you oppose ODM in Migori, we shall fight you ferociously. You cannot win an election using the party and then you start running around speaking ill of it afterwards. We shall teach you a lesson, just wait and see."
Mr Wandayi said the party leadership will sit and decide on the disciplinary action to be meted out on Governor Obado for going against the party.
“Anybody else can oppose Ayacko, but if you are a member of ODM regardless of the position you hold or your stature in life, we shall not hesitate to take disciplinary action and you will be surprised,” Mr Wandayi, who is also the Unguja MP, said.
Mr Wandayi added: “We will not tolerate or spare absurd politicians who are humble when seeking the party ticket and turn into political hyenas after being elected. We are going to initiate a process of disciplining party rebels and deviants."
Suna West MP Peter Masara and Migori Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo urged ODM politicians to respect the party and rally behind Mr Ochillo.
"We as ODM family fraternity must rally behind the party in the upcoming by-election. We must demonstrate our loyalty by supporting Mr Ochillo," said Mrs Odhiambo.
The governor, however said the same ODM leaders attacking him for going against the party ignored him despite being its candidate on August 8 and supported an independent candidate.
“Despite having the ODM ticket the same leaders who have been claiming I am against the party and my leader Raila Odinga openly campaigned against me, no finger was raised against them. I won’t be intimidated,” Mr Obado said.
He said leaders claiming to be the senior members of ODM and closest to Mr Odinga in Migori county should first face disciplinary action for supporting independent candidates in last elections before pointing a finger at him.
Meanwhile, in Homa Bay county, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga announced that he will contest on an ODM ticket if a gubernatorial by-election is held in the county.
During a fundraiser over the weekend, Mr Magwanga announced that he is ready to contest the party’s ticket for the Homa Bay gubernatorial seat because he is a life member of the party.
Reports by Vivere Nandiemo, Elisha Otieno and Barack Oduor