ODM aggrieved aspirants pick sides in chase for Kasipul MP seat

The grievances borne out of the controversial Orange Democratic Movement nominations are fuelling the race for Kasipul parliamentary seat in Homa Bay county.

The race to succeed Mr Oyugi Magwanga, who is eying the gubernatorial seat against incumbent Cyprian Awiti, is between businessman Charles Ong’ondo Were and architect Daniel Okindo Majiwa.

Mr Were won in the controversial ODM primary in which seven aspirants took part.

MODERATING FACTORS
Mr Majiwa is contesting the seat on an independent ticket. Mr Were is backing Governor Cyprian Awiti’s re-election.

Clan and development factors are set to determine who the next legislator would be.

Mr Were, a seasoned politician, had unsuccessfully run for the seat in the 2013 elections against Mr Magwanga on a Tip Tip ticket, while Mr Majiwa is making his debut in elective politics.

MAJIWA’S SUPPORTERS
Mr Majiwa is enjoying the backing of five aspirants who protested the outcome of the nomination.

The matter was heard by the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.

The politicians are Mary Patricia, Isaac Ongiri, Kenneth Okoth Jam and Amoti Owango.

The group by Mr Ongiri, a journalist, have vowed to campaign for Mr Majiwa’s bid.

“We are determined to ensure that Mr Majiwa captures the seat because ODM party nominations were shambolic and a fraud,” Mr Ongiri said.

CONFIDENT OF WINNING
Mr Ongiri has urged National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga to keep off local politics, lest his comments attract voter apathy in the August 8 polls.

“Mr Odinga should not wade into local politics. This may anger supporters of particular candidates who may not turn out to vote for him during the election,” he warned.

Mr Were has vowed to defeat Mr Majiwa, saying that the people of Kasipul had “spoken” during the primary.

“The residents chose me to be their MP during the ODM party nomination and they will repeat that in August 8 elections,” Mr Were said.

CLAN POLITICS
The candidate also said ODM is “the most popular party in the constituency”.

Mr Were hails from Kachien clan while Mr Majiwa hails from Konyango clan, which is the largest in the constituency.

Mr Majiwa relies on the fact that the clan has always been voting as a bloc during past elections.

The last MP the clan produced was Mr James Mbori Yogo two decades ago. Mr Yogo passed on last week.

The Kachien clan has benefited immensely from political appointments in the Homa Bay County government.

County Chief Officer for Trade and Industrialisation Evans Abeka hails from the clan, hence their support for Mr Awiti’s re-election.

The cosmopolitan effect of Oyugis Town is another factor the candidates can never overlook.

The votes of the town residents are being viewed as capable of determining the outcome of the MP seat race.

AGENDA

Kasipul was split into two to create Kabondo Kasipul and Kasipul constituencies in the last delimitation of boundaries by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Some of the challenges the candidates have vowed to tackle once elected are poor health and low education standards.

Kasipul is also touted as the county’s agricultural basket, yet the opportunities that come with the area’s good soils haven’t been fully exploited by past leadership.

EDUCATION
Mr Were has promised to focus on improving education and health standards once elected.

“I will ensure that modern classrooms and health facilities are built to better the lives of our residents,” Mr Were said.

On the other hand, Mr Majiwa seeks to empower youth and women by creating more job opportunities if elected.

“I have resolved to end glaring poverty among women and the youth if elected.”

He has also pledged to initiate scholarship initiatives targeting students from a disadvantaged background.

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