Former Rangwe MP and ICT guru Shem Ochuodho wants to accomplish what he terms as unfinished political business in Homa Bay County and the larger Nyanza region.
Dr Ochuodho, who believes there is need for a paradigm shift in the approach to politics in Nyanza, says his mission has never been understood by the region’s electorate.
He is currently seeking court orders compelling the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to clear his candidature for the Homa Bay County senatorial post on a Restore and Build Kenya (RBK) Party ticket.
Dr Ochuodho sought the court’s help after he was barred from presenting his papers to the commission.
In papers filed at the High Court in Nairobi, Dr Ochuodho claims that the returning officer for Homa Bay County Michael Kosgey turned away his agent who had gone to present his papers on grounds he did not have a banker’s cheque, accompanying the papers, as was required.
The agent went to the bank to buy a banker’s cheque but on returning found the commission’s team had already closed for the day.
On Monday, Dr Ochuodho, who exuded confidence that the court would rule in his favour, accused incumbent Senator Moses Kajwang’ and Governor Cyprian Awiti of failing to turn around the fortunes of the county.
“The senator and the governor of Homa Bay have failed the residents and do not deserve re-election,” he argued.
Dr Ochuodho has worked for the Rwandan government in Kigali for three years as ICT adviser to the country’s minister of state in charge of energy and communications and also as chief executive officer of the Rwanda Information Technology Authority).
MUITE’S RUNNING MATE
His expertise has also seen him work as an ICT adviser to the South Sudanese government based in Juba.
In 2003, Dr Ochuodho was appointed Kenya Oil Pipeline Company managing director.
Prior to that he served for a term as MP for Rangwe on an NDP ticket, a seat he won in the 1997 General Election.
In the 2013 polls, he was the running mate of lawyer Paul Muite, the Safina Party presidential candidate.
Politically, Dr Ochuodho is not in good terms with National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga due to his “independent mindedness”.
But Dr Ochuodho clarifies that he does not have personal differences with Mr Odinga, noting that he should not be labelled “a rebel” because he differs in opinion with the opposition chief and Luo political kingpin.
“I have been having ideological differences with Mr Odinga and this has been taken as rebellion by a section of his supporters,” he said.
He maintains that his mission remains to incorporate like-minded professionals in Nyanza to steer growth in a region that has supported the Opposition for decades.
“I am on course to move Nyanza to the next level. I believe the region stands a better chance in terms of development than what it currently receives,” Dr Ochuodho said.
His rivals for the Senate seat include the incumbent, Mr Kajwang’ of the Orange Democratic Movement, Mr Fred Rabong’, an independent candidate, and Mr John Ogolla of Jubilee Party.