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Ginther is Columbus mayor-elect

ONUMBA.COM, USA – The fierce race for Columbus top job was settled on November 3 in favor of Democrat Andrew Ginther, setting the stage for the city to welcome a brand new mayor for the first time in 16 years as outgoing Mayor Michael Coleman gets his wish to pass on the baton to Ginther before stepping down in January. Ginther, to the surprise of some startled by his huge of margin of victory, routed Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott recently, corralling 59 percent of the vote compared to Scott’s 41 percent in an election fought largely over alleged corrupt practices by Ginther at the City Hall. Mayor-elect Ginther will take over from Coleman who has been at the helm in Columbus since he was elected mayor in 1999.  Ginther, just like Coleman, will become mayor after serving as council president. From the start, and throughout the campaign, Ginther touted his years of effective partnership with Coleman running the city, dangling his years of leadership experience he said Scott lacked.  That strategic alliance, in part, led many to see him as a shoo-in to receive the mayoral baton from Coleman.  But after being accused of ethical shenanigans that swept his council colleague Michelle Mills out of office, Ginther became the linchpin of FBI investigations that rattled and lulled his campaign to near comatose, knocking it off message while forcing him into a tormenting conundrum of defending himself against corruption while making the case for mayor. But in the end, Ginther prevailed, quickly admitting that he has a lot of people to thank for helping him weather the storm brought on by the alleged multi-layered scandals. Continue Reading


Mayoral candidate Scott tells why he is the right man for the job

Exclusive Onumba Q & A interview: Franklin County Sheriff Democrat Zach Scott, Candidate for Mayor of Columbus

Onumba Q&A – The battle for a chance to become the next mayor of Columbus is heating up. Interestingly, there was a time when victory, some would say, was a shoo-in for City Council President Andrew Ginther in the mayoral race against Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, especially after nicely pocketing Mayor Coleman’s complete and unwavering endorsement. But that was then. Today, without a doubt, the contest is fierce and victory is a tossup. Scott, for one thing, has come out swinging, trying to ensure that change in city leadership is a fierce contest of ideas, not a coronation, telling in a recent interview at his campaign headquarters on 5th Avenue that he is the absolute right man for the job. Continue Reading


Black vote could decide outcome of mayoral race

ONUMBA.COM, USA – Democrat James Ragland campaigned fiercely to become the mayor of Columbus, but lost in his bid after finishing fourth in the hard fought primary race a couple of months ago, featuring three Democrats and one Republican.  

Two African-Americans – Ragland and Franklin University Business Professor Terry Boyd, were in the race, Boyd being the only Republican.  The other candidates were City Council President Andrew Ginther and Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, both Democrats, and both Whites. After Ragland exited the race, despite all out support from former State Senator Ray Miller, who is a revered political solon in both the Black community and Columbus political scene, the contest was left without a Black candidate, since Boyd also lost. That left Ginther and Scott to battle it out for a chance to replace Mayor Michael Coleman who is stepping down at the end of the year after a historic 16 years in office. Not necessarily saying that the Black votes would have been automatically gobbled up by Ragland and Boyd because of their race, it is interesting to know who of the two remaining candidates in the race is better postured to gain the Black vote. Ragland, who is visibly dangling his coveted endorsement as a way to goad the candidates to pay attention to Black issues, isn’t so sure both candidates deserve Black support now since in his view neither is really addressing Black issues. Continue Reading


Mayor Coleman stands by his Police Chief on hijab ban

ONUMBA.COM, USA – Somali immigrant Ismahan Isse loves Columbus.  Isse is part of a sprawling Somali community that is second largest in the nation, behind only Minneapolis-St Paul metropolis.  She wants to serve the city as a police officer.  And the good thing about Isse wanting to become a cop is that it will help Mayor Michael Coleman achieve his goal of creating a force that is as diverse as the city. But for Isse and Coleman, there’s one little problem. Isse is a Muslim woman, and with that comes a smorgasbord of requirements imposed by her Islamic faith, including the fiercely forbidden practice of not going out in public without wearing head-scarf, also called hijab.  Unfortunately, that iron-clad religious ukase not too long ago collided head-on with the decision by Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs to ban women on the force from wearing head-scarf while on duty or training. While Coleman stands with Jacobs concerning her decision, he also recognizes the problem of lack of diversity bedeviling the force, which explains why he is pushing efforts to ensure that his administration is reaching out and encouraging all residents of the city to join the force. “I’ve said this to our chief and safety director, to step up our efforts in this area,” said Coleman in a recent interview, adding, “I strongly believe that our police force needs to be reflective of every corner of our city.”

Currently, the police force is nowhere near that level of reflection, but the mayor’s intention clearly underscores acknowledgement of the problem and more importantly the mission of his administration to solve it, mindful of how diverse the city has become over the years lacking adequate representation on the police force. Continue Reading


Onumba Q & A: City Council candidate Ibrahima Sow on why he is running

Onumba Q & A:  An African immigrant from Senegal could make a monumental history as the first to serve on Columbus City Council. His name is Ibrahima Sow.  If Sow succeeds, he will not only be the first African immigrant to serve on the council, he will also be the first Muslim to do so. Sow, 24, is profoundly determined in his historic bid to serve his community as a councilmember, but he also knows it is going to be an uphill battle unseating the incumbents on the council, all Democrats, all supported by a very popular Mayor Michael Coleman. Recently, Sow took time out of his busy schedule to visit Onumba Media Group (OMG) office on East Dublin-Granville Road where he spoke about his campaign, his vision for the city, and for the immigrant community and above all why he decided to run for city council.  The interview: Columbus city council candidate Sow in his own words  Thank you for coming. Continue Reading


Councilwoman Mills resigns as fog of scandal hovers over City Council

ONUMBA.COM, USA – When Michelle Mills was appointed to the Columbus City Council several years ago, she was extremely excited, telling at her swearing in ceremony that one thing she would like to focus on as councilmember was the “people” of Columbus. “We must make sure we don’t neglect the people,” she said, calling them “our biggest assets.” After about five years on the council, Mills’ primary focus is still on the “people.”  The difference going forward though is that she would no longer be able to help the people of Columbus as a councilwoman; it would have to be only as the CEO of St. Stephens Community House, a job she had before her appointment to the council, but continued on while serving on the council. Mills, who was a shoo-in to replace Andrew Ginther as Council President, announced recently that she was resigning her seat on the council, totally catching everyone by surprise. Continue Reading


GOP debate in Cleveland: Kasich is in

ONUMBA.COM, USA –It was a cliffhanger, but that was enough. Ohio Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich barely made the roster of candidates qualified to participate in the first GOP primary debate in Cleveland this week. In that gathering, expect the controversial matter of Obamacare to feature a lot. There, the mugwump governor would have a chance to explain to his fellow Republicans why he supported Obamacare. Kasich, though, always points out that even though he implemented the Medicaid expansion portion of the health care law, he is generally opposed to Obamacare. Continue Reading


Why is Donald Trump doing well in polls, now?

ONUMBA.COM, USA – It is a bizarre phenomenon that really can be summed up in two words: mob mentality. Hey, you will drive yourself absolutely crazy if you look deeper than that trying to figure out what is clearly a fleeting campaign buzz by a wealthy and boisterous political minnow whose most potent weapon is to yell and lob insults at folks. Real-estate mogul and political greenhorn Donald Trump is thumping his dumbfounded opponents in poll after poll (now) despite having spewed god-awful things about just about everyone breathing out there. One of his opponents, U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham, at a total loss for what to make of rising Trump, settled for calling him “a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party.” Graham’s probably right, but Trump’s annoying, insulting, in-your-face style has not affected his poll numbers. Continue Reading

Mayor candidate City Council President Andrew J. Ginther discuss issues during a forum at Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus on January 29, 2015. (Dispatch photo by Kyle Robertson)

Despite probe, Ginther not “worried” about indictment, damage to campaign

ONUMBA.COM, USA – When it comes to the investigations over the allegations that Columbus City Council President Democrat Andrew Ginther was part of bribery activities involving one of the companies that installed red-light cameras in the city, a number of things are no longer in question:  the god-awful cameras have been removed, the contract with the company RedFlex terminated and the investigation deepening. But what is not so certain yet is how much, if at all, any of this is hurting Ginther’s campaign for mayor. Since he announced his candidacy, Ginther has been seen by many as a shoo-in to win the mayoral race and replace outgoing Mayor Michael Coleman, who ironically, is also grappling with his own burgeoning mess over an unrelated allegations that he sold his pricey pad located in the Columbus Berwick neighborhood to a Chinese business woman who was also looking to do business with the city. Coleman, a very popular mayor, is stepping down at the end of the year after a historic 16 years in office.  He has endorsed Ginther for mayor, an imprimatur that carries heavy weight. But with all of this playing out, and with the mayor’s backing more important now than ever, is this investigation going to wreck Ginther’s campaign or at least give his opponent Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott a modicum of chance to wage a respectable battle and possibly win? Continue Reading


Thick skull; Why is Musevini mediating Burundi’s row?

ONUMBA.COM, USA – Whoa, whoa, this is really interesting, to say the very least. Talk about toiling, as though his next money wire transfer depends on it, to put out a picayune worth of fire in another man’s mud house when his own sprawling pricey pad is smoldering in a raging inferno. Perhaps, this is the Holy Grail of misplaced priorities cloaked in glib pursuits that ended up dangling for all to see as being no more than a rodomont and an apocryphal display of regional leadership and neighborly peace making. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, now does it? Who’s Musevini kidding?  Only himself. Continue Reading