- The race to succeed incumbent Governor Cyprian Awiti is gaining momentum, with the seat attracting several political bigwigs.
- According to Mark Obar, Homa Bay people should shun the status quo and elect a young, vibrant and transformative candidate in 2022.
I was born some 30 years ago in Kamgere village, Rusinga Island. I’m the last born of my mother’s seven children. However, I have several other half-siblings from my ‘second-mum’s house’ since my father had two wives. Ideally, we are a family of over twenty children.
I was born 14 years after my mother had stopped giving birth. My birth was fairly prophetic in nature as it was announced by then respected village prophet Mariko Odoyo Okal.
Almost two years before I was born, he visited my mum to announce to her that he had a dream that she’d once again give birth to a son. He went ahead to describe the role and responsibility of the son, and true to his words, on November 18 1990, my mother gave birth to me.
I was then named after Prophet Mariko, assuming the name Mark. To date, even after his death, Mr. Odoyo’s family, especially the children consider me an integral part of their beloved family.
Just like my mum and dad, Prophet Mariko prayed for me and gave me his prophetic blessings before he died.
Growing up, I found myself in a family that was seriously shaken by marital feuds, a common nature of most polygamous families. I remember a night when together with our mother, we had to sleep in a cowshed after our houses were burnt to the ground. I witnessed material sense of violence against vulnerable children and mothers, and this went on until early 2000s.
Of all my siblings, I was my father’s favourite. In 2003, hours before he died in a traumatic road accident, he’d called me to my second mum’s house to help him water his fruits. It was such a happy and beautiful moment, in which we shared breakfast. For the first time my father prayed for me before leaving for his laundry firm at Mbita town centre. Unfortunately, that is the last time I’d see him alive.
My mother was a leader and a leading intercessor in her local church. She served God in prayers until minutes to her death, peacefully in her bed at the age of 74. Two months before her passing on February 19 2020, my mother had reconciled all facets of my father’s family household and left a glowing legacy of compassion, love and care for everyone.
When I was around 12 years, I got born again in one of the most interesting scenarios. My mother had asked me to go borrow some salt from our neighbour, Pastor Otieno Okoth. In his house was a young preacher by the name Samuel Ogango (I have never met him since then), who preached to me the gospel. I immediately accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I returned home several hours later in the night, and testified to my family members. Since then God has been my shield and defence.
By the time I was 14-years-old, I’d mastered the art of fishing in Rusinga, Ngodhe, Remba and Takawiri islands. Besides going to school, fishing and farming were necessary economic activities to support a struggling parent. However, my mother insisted on ensuring that I paid complete attention to my studies.
I attended Kamgere Primary School before proceeding to Mbita High School, then to Moi University, and later to the University of South Wales in the United Kingdom.
I have a BSc. in Information Sciences and a Master of Business Administration, besides several other certification Diplomas and certificates in Mass Communication (Multimedia University), Data Engineering and completing a Bachelor of Science in Computing and Electronic Engineering (with Information Technology) at Open University in the United Kingdom.
I’m currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Antioch ITC in Nairobi Kenya, and with branches in Arusha (Tanzania) and Kampala (Uganda). Previously, I had served as Digital Monetization Editor with Standard Group PLC.
Growing up, my interests were in legal practice. That changed when I started interacting with computing technologies at a tender age. I used to visit the Mbita Post Office to browse on the internet. That stirred up my interests in technologies and their working components, especially in how I’d use technological applications to transform my village and scale it up to the entire country.
From the time when I developed interest in politics and leadership in 2010 after the promulgation of the new Constitution, I have been involved in voluntary political services, especially with the then Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (2013) and National Super Alliance (NASA) (2017).
Part of NASA team that audited disputed 2017 presidential elections
Former NASA CEO Norman Magaya approached me to join a team tasked with conducting a forensic audit of IEBC servers during the disputed presidential election.
It was in a matter of just seven minutes that we discovered how IEBC had scuttled the polls, and that is what led to the nullification of the same results by the Supreme Court.
What happened next is well known to all and sundry, and without any contradiction, that’s why I’m grateful for the peace that came with the handshake between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Obar: Why Homa Bay governorship? What will I fix?
I’m currently running for the Office of The Governor of Homa Bay County as an independent candidate. I’m seeking the votes of Homa Bay electorates on a transformational agenda that will endeavor to create capacity in a controlled environment while converting informal sectors into a formal economy, by way of:
- Converting Bodaboda Business into Public Transport and Logistics Coporations in the eight constituencies in Homa Bay County
- Converting Homa Bay Lake Front Shores into a Huge 210KM Horticultural Hub
- Seed Capital for Business Start-ups
- Green Produce Hubs for all Local Agricultural Produce
- Ready Market (CIMAC) for All Locally Produced Goods
- Scalable Processing and Standardisation Programme
- Value Addition and County Export Economy
- Socio-Economic Development Plans (Health, Housing, Education and Savings Plans)
- Community Based Companies and Local Enterprises for fish processing, horticultural processing, cereal processing, ceramics and textile and cotton productions
- County Water Network – from one Village to the next village
- Village Road Construction Programme
- Community Health Infrastructural Programme
- Customised Civil Engineering Training Programme
- Village Stadia Upgrade Programme
- Smart Residential Village Programme
- Beach Development Programmes
- ECD Prefabrication Programme
- The Governor’s Scholarships for High School and University Students
I’m now presenting and representing the same youthful voices that are standing up against the theft of public funds in the counties. Let it be told that as young people, there is nothing for us without us.
And so, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players with dirty records and expect a different result in Homa Bay. After ten years of hemorrhage comedy of nothing but dramatic clumsiness, we must all stand and say that we deserve better.
We deserve better than a governor who is accused by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission of having embezzled public funds. We deserve better than a governor whose wealth of close to KSh9 Billion cannot be accounted for.