Azimio Presidential candidate Raila Odinga is expected to campaign in his Nyanza backyard this week.
His visit, later this week, comes amid intense sibling rivalry pitting ODM candidates against those flying the flags of the other parties within the Azimio umbrella.
A planning meeting for the visit agreed that all Azimio affiliated candidates be given equal treatment when Raila visits the region.
I am the ODM chairman in Kisumu, and those others have their own party leadership structures. I have not been given any orders from my party headquarters to work with them in any way as we approach the electionsProf Ayiecho Olweny
The meeting chaired by Kisii Governor James Ongwae and attended by ODM chairman John Mbadi may sound as good news to the Azimio parties.
However, those who had secured the dominant tickets amidst stiff competition are jittery over the move.
They see it a way of weakening the six peace mantra that has been struggling to gain roots in the region.
Raila has been blowing hot and cold over the issue of zoning off ODM strongholds.
At some point he appears to support the calls for six piece voting pattern, while other times calls on Azimio affiliates to field candidates in their areas of choice.
ODM Kisumu County Chairman Prof Ayiecho Olweny says he has not received any instructions to embrace none ODM candidates.
“I am the ODM chairman in Kisumu, and those others have their own party leadership structures. I have not been given any orders from my party headquarters to work with them in any way as we approach the elections,” said Ayiecho.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) candidate for Siaya Governor race Nicholas Gumbo supports the collaboration, saying it is a way of consolidating the presidential vote for Raila Odinga in the region.
Karachuonyo Constituency independent candidate Sam Ogutu also welcomed the news.
He said that people should be allowed to make their own choices in other seats as long as the presidential vote remains intact for the ODM leader.
“We are all supporting Raila Odinga for the presidency but will be speaking our own different languages when it comes to these other seats,” he said.
We are all supporting Raila Odinga for the presidency but will be speaking our own different languages when it comes to these other seatsSam Ogutu
Among the seats where ODM candidates are bracing for fierce battles from other Azimio and independent candidates are Homa Bay gubernatorial race pitting outgoing Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and former Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero.
A similar battle is looming in Siaya County where Gumbo will be facing off with Senator James Orengo in a bid to succeed Amoth Rasanga.
In Kisumu West Constituency, bitter rivals Olago Aluoch of the MDG will be flexing his muscles against outgoing Woman Representative Rosa Buyu.
The two have met on the ballot twice before and Olago has beaten Buyu in both battles flying different party flags.
In the neighboring Kisumu East, three term MP Shakeel Shabir will be seeking to defend his seat as an independent candidate in another round of battle with ODM’s Nicholas Oricho.
Shakeel beat Oricho in the last elections, despite Oricho flying the ODM flag.
Across the region, there are several other seats that have been marked as hotbeds where ODM candidates are not sitting pretty following an onslaught from their Azimio siblings and other strong independent candidates.