, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s sister, Ruth, has now pulled out of the Kisumu gubernatorial race.
Ruth told a press conference in Nairobi that she made the decision for the sake of peace in the lakeside town which witnessed pockets of violence over her alleged nomination.
“I would like to step down for the sake of peace and the PM… I did vie as Ruth Odinga and not as a member of the Odinga family,” she stressed.
She says she is only shelving her ambition until 2017 but will continue supporting her brother for the top job.
“In my campaigns I have gone out of my way to convince voters but due to the fuss generated, I would rather have peace,” she said.
“I am in ODM and I will support the PM and the candidate for Kisumu governor and I will be back in the race after five years.”
Her exit leaves the position for the take by her main challenger Jack Ranguma.
On Sunday, violence broke out in Kisumu after word went round that she was nominated by ODM to be the party’s flag-bearer in the March 4 elections.
The demonstrations were simultaneous in Kisumu, Nyando and Maseno where roads leading to Kisumu town were blocked and transport paralysed.
Ruth was ‘declared’ winner at the Tom Mboya Labour College Hall by someone who was not the returning officer, prompting demonstrators to argue there was a plot to rig out Ranguma who was the frontrunner for the position.
Carrying banners saying “No Ranguma, No Raila” the demonstrators vowed not to let go the nomination to Ruth, whom they have accused of using her brother’s name to clinch the party nomination.
The standoff came barely a day after Siaya County residents staged demonstrations to protest against former Bondo MP Oburu Odinga who is an elder brother to the PM after he was announced the winner for the gubernatorial position there.