Cyrus Omondi on course to join Kiambu County Assembly
When Cyrus Omondi Odhiambo decided to vie for the Kahawa Wendani ward seat in Ruiru, Kiambu, in 2007, his choice of party, he says, had to be Orange Democratic Party led by Raila Odinga.
This was despite the fact that most of the voters in the area were backing President Mwai Kibaki who was Mr Odinga’s main challenger.
He reasoned that with party politics at play, it was impossible for him to clinch a ticket in Mr Kibaki’s PNU, and even if he had, the “party owners” would have denied him victory.
With an ODM ticket, Mr Omondi, who says he was a popular candidate owing to the fact that he was born and raised in the area, lost.
Mr Omondi’s late father was an army officer at the neighbouring Kahawa Barracks, while his mother was a fishmonger at the local shopping centre and locals regarded him as one of their own.
Determined, Mr Omondi who emerged third, made another stab at the post during the 2013 general election.
But the Kenya Scouts Association official had repeated the same mistake he made in 2007 — picking the wrong party.
His rival Michael Waweru was vying on The National Alliance which was associated with President Kenyatta.
But Mr Omondi, locally known as Cyro, had conducted a spirited campaign that despite vying on an “unwanted” party, he garnered 3,400 votes, while Mr Waweru got 4,200.
Undeterred, the 35-year-old who has been engaging in community work in the area told his supporters that 2017 would present another opportunity.
He said he was convinced that he had always been the people’s choice but it never crossed his mind that it was the party choice that was failing him.
This changed when his supporters urged him to ditch ODM and join Jubilee Party this time round. “They told me that I have always been their preferred candidate but other people were finding it difficult to vote for me because I was vying on a party led by someone perceived to be President Kenyatta’s nemesis,” Mr Omondi said.
SHORT CHANGE HIM
After much pressure, he joined Jubilee Party halfheartedly because he was afraid that his opponents would still short change him on grounds that he was in the “wrong” party.
But come Tuesday, Mr Omondi defied the odds by beating the incumbent in Jubilee Party primaries. “My rivals were claiming that I should not win a seat because it would be an embarrassment to the President.
But the electorate stood by me because they have known me since my childhood and I have been part of them through my community movement,” says Mr Omondi.