The race for two constituency seats in Kisumu County continues to generate heat, as two incumbent MPs face off with their ODM rivals in the August 8 General Election.
Kisumu East and Kisumu West constituencies are some of the electoral units in Nyanza that have attracted much attention.
Out of the 539,210 registered voters in Kisumu County, Kisumu East has a total of 81,538 voters while Kisumu West has 74,439.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir (Independent) and his Kisumu West counterpart Olago Aluoch (Ford Kenya) have put up a spirited fight to retain their seats amid an ODM onslaught.
Mr Shabbir is defending his seat as an independent candidate after losing the ODM ticket to former Kenya Sugar Board director Nicholas Oricho.
Mr Aluoch on his part is facing former Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman John Awiti of ODM.
Apart from Mr Oricho of ODM, Mr Shabbir is also pitted against nominated Senator Joy Gwendo of Jubilee Party (JP), Nelson Oloo (Amani National Congress) and Mary Onyango (Safina Party).
In Kisumu West, apart from Mr Awiti, the incumbent is also vying against Mr Kennedy Obiero, who is contesting as an independent candidate after losing the ODM ticket to the former KESSHA chairman, Geoffrey Dienya (Amani National Congress), Michael Okidi (Citizen’s Convention Party) and Joram Abayo (JP).
Mr Shabbir who claims his victory was stolen in ODM primaries has vowed to reclaim his seat.
“I won the nominations but my victory was stolen in favour of Oricho. I’m however sure of winning as an independent candidate.”
He said he would sign a pact with ODM, assuring the party of his support if he is elected.
Mr Oricho, who has been advocating for a ‘six-piece’ vote in his campaigns, faults Mr Shabbir over claims he was rigged out in ODM primaries.
“He (Shabbir) has been a Mayor in Kisumu for almost 10 years and an MP for 10 years.
“Let him be frank enough and thank our people for giving him that chance. He must know we have been voting him because of the party,” Mr Oricho said.
Ms Gwendo has adopted a silent door-to-door campaign in the constituency meeting women groups and working to ways of empowering them economically.
She warns her male counterparts to prepare for her victory.
“I have been crisscrossing the constituency selling my agenda for the people. I will pull a surprise win on them. Watch this space,” Ms Gwendo said.
In Kisumu West, where Mr Aluoch is involved in another titanic battle pitting him against ODM, his decision to back Governor Ranguma’s re-election is seen as a make or break move him.
“The people of Kisumu West love Olago because of his development record [and] that is why they voted for him in 2013 on a Ford Kenya ticket.
“In 2013, the campaign based on his projects and was not aligned to any lineup,” an elder Mr Oruko Jakang’o, said.
READ: Ranguma faulted over move to vie as independent
Mr Awiti said he will revive a Teachers’ Training College in the Constituency as a replacement of Siriba Teachers College, which was elevated into Maseno University.
“I will improve the health sector to ensure we reduce premature deaths in Kisumu West,” he said.
Mr Aluoch survived the ODM tide in 2013 on a Ford Kenya party ticket after beating his then arch rival Rozah Buyu, now the ODM candidate for the woman rep seat.