Ugenya MP David Ochieng is definitely a man under siege after all his four opponents vowed to close ranks and back one of them to face the incumbent.
Mr Ochieng, who has since decamped from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to the little known Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG), will now face it out with Mr Chris Karan, his political arch rival and ODM nominee.
Mr Ochieng’s defection has made the race for Ugenya parliamentary seat unique.
This is because Ugenya is the ancestral home of Siaya Senator James Orengo and the county’s fourth most populated constituency.
This can be viewed as a repeat of the 2013 ODM nominations that saw Mr Ochieng beat Mr Karan in the nominations to get the party certificate before winning the General Election.
Mr Ochieng insists that MDG is part of the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
But he will have to convince the voters even further, more so after Nasa presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga insisted that Nasa has only five affiliated parties.
At a funeral function in Rarieda Sub-County, Mr Odinga asked the residents, especially from areas where ODM was dominant, to ignore the independent candidates and those allied to political parties not affiliated to Nasa.
“Nasa comprises only five affiliate parties namely ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya, ANC and CCM. Those claiming to be independent candidates and in other small political parties other than the five should not lie to Luo-Nyanza to vote for them,” Mr Odinga said.
Mr Ochieng will now face off with Mr Karan for the Ugenya parliamentary seat after he was awarded the nomination certificate when veteran journalist David Ohito, Mrs Mary Omondi and Francis Oloo decided to support his candidature.
Mr Ochieng credits himself with starting numerous development projects in the constituency and promises to launch more, in a bid to positively transform the lives of the locals.
Mr Karan hopes to ride on ODM’s popularity in the region to win the seat.
The MP sights frustration from the Orange party leadership as the reason behind his defection.
He has constantly warned the local politicians from associating him with Jubilee Party, maintaining that he is an ardent member and supporter of Nasa.
“It is wrong for some local politicians to keep on spreading rumours against me claiming that I am a Jubilee mole, I am a strong supporter of Nasa and I fully support the endorsement of Raila Odinga for president,” Mr Ochieng said.
Mr Ochieng admits approaching the National Government on one or two occasions for the sake of development and empowerment of the locals, insisting that he would do the same, should Mr Odinga become President.
He added that the projects have opened up the constituency to the rest of the county and country.
They are: Nyaharuwa Teachers Training College at Sh100 million, Ugenya Medical Training College (MTC) at Sh50 million, Ugenya Technical Training Institute at Ligose in North Ugenya ward that was allocated Sh50 million, the tarmacking of Ugunja-Ukwala-Rwambwa road, which will commence after the contractor is given the go ahead.
He added that other roads to be tarmacked once the government gives the go-ahead include the Got Nanga–Bar Ober road.
“I am doing all of these as a way of opening up the constituency and enhancing the education of the children in the constituency,” Mr Ochieng said.
However, Mr Karan has termed Mr Ochieng as a total failure who should not be given another chance to lead.
He exuded confidence of winning in the August 8 polls.
He asked voters to be wary of “Mr Ochieng’s tricks”, insisting that the MP bragged of national government funded projects yet he has not shown how he used the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
“I knew Mr Ochieng would fail the electorate and eventually turn around and brag about his works. We want him to tell us how he spent the CDF cash he has managed for the past four years.”
Mr Karan said he would embark on projects that will directly empower women and youth, arguing that Mr Ochieng had sidelined them.
He will also invest a significant amount of the CDF on health care, which has been neglected, forcing Ugenya residents to seek services in neighbouring sub-counties, he added.
The ODM nominee said he would also initiate talks with commercial banks and enable them set up branches in Sega town to save residents and traders numerous visits to Ugunja and Bumala for financial services.
“The MP has blackmailed youths and women; I have established that 60 per cent of all the tenders were awarded to outsiders. I will change that narrative and ensure that local residents benefit from these tenders,” Mr Karan said.