This will be an tense week for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) as several election petitions proceed in its Nyanza stronghold — Siaya, Migori, Nyamira, Kisii, Ugenya and Gem.
Should the petitions be upheld and fresh elections ordered, the political tempo of Nasa and its leader Raila Odinga could change, ushering in renewed competition between the coalition and independent candidates.
In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti could be working on borrowed time after the High Court nullified his August 8, 2017, election victory last week.
Mr Awiti has indicated his intention to challenge the verdict by justice Joseph Karanja at the Court of Appeal, but he could be walking on a tight rope should the apex court uphold the nullification.
Justice Karanja, sitting in Homa Bay, found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not conduct a free and fair election.
On Monday, High Court Judge Esther Maina will deliver judgment on the Siaya governorship election petition, and on the Gem parliamentary petition.
In the governorship petition, former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo is challenging the re-election of Governor Cornel Rasanga.
Also, two parliamentary petitions in Siaya will be decided this week.
One petition, filed by former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo against the election of Mr Elisha Odhiambo (ODM), will be decided on the same Monday.
On Thursday, former Ugenya MP David Ochieng will be hoping that the election of incumbent Christopher Karani of ODM is overturned.
Lady Justice Thripsisa Cherere will deliver the judgment and rule whether propaganda allegedly peddled by the ODM brigade influenced Mr Ochieng’s loss in the Ugenya parliamentary election.
Apart from Siaya, Governors Zachary Obado (Migori) and John Nyagarama (Nyamira), both of ODM, will await their political fate this week.
In Migori, former Cabinet minister Ochilo Ayacko is keenly waiting for the court’s verdict on Tuesday, February 27, on a petition against Mr Okoth Obado’s win.
The following day, in neighbouring Nyamira County, ODM will be hoping that it will not be subjected to fresh governorship elections, should Mr Nyagarama’s win be nullified.
Mr Walter Nyambati has asked the High Court in Nyamira to nullify the election of Mr Nyagarama, citing irregularities at some polling stations during the scrutiny and recount of votes.
But ODM has maintained that it is ready for any decision by the courts. Nyando MP Jared Okello said:
“The courts will only reaffirm our win where it is upheld. But should our members’ win be nullified, we will re-affirm our strength by winning with even bigger margins in the fresh elections.”
Mr Okello, a first time MP who was recently appointed secretary for Public Policy, Economic Affairs and Resource Mobilisation, said the party has rebranded and will clinch any seat lost due to a petition.
In Kisii, High Court judge Hellen Omondi is set to rule on Tuesday on a petition challenging Kisii County Governor James Ongwae’s victory.
On Monday, Kisii Woman Rep Janet Ongera will know her fate following a petition challenging her victory.
Meanwhile, in Homa Bay, political temperatures are rising, with many saying a by-election might be inevitable.
Mr Awiti’s ODM party could find itself in a fix in case of a by-election.
Although Mr Awiti is a party loyalist and close confidant of Mr Odinga, ODM could be forced to conduct fresh nominations to signify its commitment to electoral justice.
Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s name has been flouted as a possible contestant, especially by those who feel that the wars between Mr Awiti and former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga are derailing development in the southern Nyanza County.
But Dr Kidero, who lost his Nairobi seat in last year’s election to Mr Mike Sonko, has remained silent on the issue.
Reports by Justus Ochieng, Barrack Oduor, Rushdie Oudia and Magati Obebo