Jubilee Party gubernatorial nominee for Homa Bay County Mr Tom Alila is a man on a mission beyond his candidature.
Mr Alila has pegged his candidature on wooing youths to back his bid following his decision to pick Mr Michael Ogolla as his running mate.
Mr Ogolla, 27, is a former students’ leader at Maasai Mara University.
INTERESTS OF YOUTHS
Upon clearance by the electoral commission to vie for the seat, Mr Alila and Mr Ogolla warned their rivals to brace for a political battle between the new and old generation of voters.
“Choosing a young running mate is a clear indication that I am having interests of youths at heart. The youths are going to decide who are for their well-being,” Mr Alila said.
Mr Ogolla warned that the youth who would be short-changed by other rivals are going to have no option but to vote for them.
“Our candidature is offering a paradigm shift in politics of the county. I am representing a constituency of voters who are the majority yet ignored in every electioneering year,” Mr Ogolla said.
Mr Alila, a seasoned Ndhiwa politician, made his debut into politics in 2010 when he unsuccessfully vied for the Ndhiwa parliamentary seat in a by election following the death of former assistant minister Joshua Orwa Ojode.
Mr Alila vied for the seat on a Kanu ticket having been defeated by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate Agostino Neto Oyugi.
Mr Alila hails from a political family. His younger brother Hillary Alila has unsuccessfully made two stabs for the Homa Bay County senatorial seat.
Following clan politics in the county, Mr Alila is also relying on his home turf of Ndhiwa to vote for him.
“Ndhiwa is my stronghold. They will not hesitate in voting one of their own who seeks the county’s top position,” Mr Alila said.
CYPRIAN AWITI HAS FAILED
Despite the county being an opposition backyard, Mr Alila is still confident that the youth factor and disappointment with the opposition-led county government will give them an upper hand in the race.
“There is increased disillusionment among residents of Homa Bay County following failure by the ODM led county government of Homa Bay.”
Mr Alila said the residents may opt to support a governor allied to Jubilee to necessitate cooperation between the county and the national governments.
His opponents, incumbent Cyprian Awiti and Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, who is seeking the seat on an independent ticket, are the front-runners in the race that is expected to be tight.
Mr Alila also relies on his past experience as the Football Kenya Federation executive member to win the seat.
He believes his tenure at the helm of the sports body will boost his chances as many locals are sports enthusiasts.
“Residents of Homa Bay County love sports. My tenure as an executive member at FKF is a boost to my bid,” Mr Alila added,
The candidature of Mr Alila has been criticised by a section of residents who have faulted Mr Uhuru Kenyatta for not visiting the county since he became the president.
Mr Nicholas Odwar said Mr Alila needs to tell President Kenyatta to visit the county if he want them to vote for him.
“President Kenyatta promised residents of Homa Bay several development projects once elected. He should visit the county to explain where the projects are located if his lieutenants want our votes,” Mr Odwar said.
Mr Alila has defended the Jubilee government against accusations of not initiating “meaningful” development projects in the county, terming the assertions as lies.
He mentioned the Sh1.5 billion Mbita–Rusinga Bridge and the planned tarmacking of Sindo-Magunga roads in Suba South as some of the key projects the Jubilee government is undertaking in the region.
But ODM chairman John Mbadi has termed Mr Alila’s candidature as a waste of time, saying the region can never vote for a Jubilee candidate.
“I do not consider Mr Alila’s candidature as a threat to our candidates. Nobody in the region can vote for Jubilee Party or its affiliated parties,” Mr Mbadi observed.