Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo is in a battle of his life to retain his seat in the forthcoming General Election.
After losing the ODM ticket to little-known Elisha Odhiambo, Mr Midiwo, Cord’s deputy minority leader, decided to vie in the August 8 polls as an independent candidate.
The decision however flies in the face of calls by Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the ODM party leader, to nomination losers to quit the race and await State jobs.
READ: Raila asks voters to reject independent candidates
Gem Constituency has more than 80,000 registered voters.
The other candidates are Mr Booker Ngesa (SDP), Ms Denise Kodhe (LDP), Mr JT Okinda (FPK) and Mr Francis Masime (Jubilee).
Mr Midiwo is the ninth MP to represent the constituency. He has been in Parliament since 2002.
The MP says that, under his leadership, his constituents have witnessed an unprecedented transformation — especially in education, health care, security, youth empowerment and infrastructure sectors.
He hopes voters will grant him another five years to enable him complete his complete his agenda.
“I have managed to increase the number of secondary schools in the constituency from four to 45, furnishing all of them with libraries, laboratories and other necessary learning materials,” Mr Midiwo said, adding that his bursary scheme has been very effective.
Mr Midiwo also dismissed claims by his opponents that he had been opposing the setting up of tertiary institutions in the region.
“Sh17 million has been spent to establish Rera Medical Training College.
“We have equally initiated talks with the Ministry of Education to make Odera Okang’o Yala University campus a fully fledged university.
“It is worth noting that Gem and Rarieda have been ranked as the leading constituencies in Siaya County in utilisation of CDF.”
Mr Odhiambo clinched the ODM certificate after garnering 13,565 votes against Mr Midiwo’s 8,125.
“It is not true that I was awarded the ODM certificate by top party officials as a way of punishing Mr Midiwo for endorsing the governorship candidature of Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, an independent candidate,” Mr Odhiambo said.
He added: “In 2002, Mr Midiwo was handed the ticket in unclear circumstances.
“In 2007, lawyer Ambrose Rachier was rigged out in his favour while, in 2013, he rigged me out. This time round I floored him…I will defeat him again on August 8.”
Mr Odhiambo described Mr Midiwo as a “total let-down” to Gem residents.
He asked: “What will he do in five years that he has failed to do in 15?”
Mr Odhiambo has promised to increase education bursaries from Sh2,000 to Sh20,000, revive the Yala sugar factory and set up a Sh1.5 billion power plant at Ndanu Falls.
He also promised to lobby for the expansion of Rera MTC, expansion of Odera Okang’o University as well as a constituency education foundation scheme for needy students.
Mr Kodhe has described the frontrunners — Mr Midiwo and Mr Odhiambo — as incompetent candidates with poor management skills.
He decried of the poor state of most roads in the constituency.
“Gem deserves better representation and a focused leader with a vision to bring back its lost glory.
“I will ensure that great schools like Sawagongo, St Mary’s Yala, Aluor Girls and Kambare Boys are back on the map,” Mr Kodhe said.