A peasant farmer from a little-known village in Kisumu is still in a jubilant mood after defying all the odds to win a ward representative seat.
Mr Billy Odhiambo, of Rabuor in Nyando sub-county, went against the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) dominance in the county to become the Kobura ward representative as an independent.
The 29-year-old contested against incumbent John Obura (ODM) and five other candidates.
The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission results showed that Mr Odhiambo won with 7,460 votes, followed by Mr Obura, who garnered 4,542.
“I want to thank my people for believing in me and promise to do my best to fulfill my promises to them,” said a happy Mr Odhiambo.
As the only elected independent MCA in Kisumu, Mr Odhiambo qualifies as the assembly minority leader by default.
The youth leader said this will be his first official job. He has been a farmer since he graduated from Moi University with a bachelor’s degree in strategic management in 2017.
He grew tomatoes and watermelons and used part of his earnings to pay for his master’s degree, which he hasn't completed
Mr Odhiambo is now looking forward to supporting rice farming in the area by introducing a rice miller and upgrading irrigation schemes and ensuring piped water gets to farms.
He has also promised to ensure jobless youths secure employment in farming and industries while others will be placed in support groups and given funds to start businesses.
“I am also planning to upgrade our Early Childhood Development Education classrooms with a fully sponsored feeding programme for the children,” he said.
But his journey to becoming ward rep has not been a walk in the park, he said.
The former Moi University student organisation secretary-general said he tossed himself into his dream career, politics, without any funds while his opponents had more than enough to give to supporters.
“I began my campaigns three years ago, visiting people from door to door and sharing with them my dream to represent them at the county assembly,” Mr Odhiambo said.
With his meagre savings and support from friends, he purchased a motorbike, which he used to move round villages for months.
His agents would go around the ward and assemble his potential supporters in villages, where he would address them and share his manifesto.
“During every meeting, I would make them aware that I had no funds to give out, but I was willing to listen to their grievances and help whenever possible. What was important was my vision to them” he said.
He received financial help from well-wishers and political friends, using the money to support those in need or fund community projects.
“My campaign was a journey of faith; many times I would leave my home unaware of what the day held for me but hopeful to win more voters,” he said.
But after ODM party nominations, Mr Odhiambo was among the discouraged aspirants as he lost to Mr Obura.
He claimed he had won but the ticket was given to the incumbent MCA because of party favouritism.
But his supporters’ willingness to support him through thick and thin made him rise to his feet ready to fight for what rightfully belonged to him.
“They called me for a meeting where they had already raised some funds and asked me to go round the ward in a car they had hired for me to inform the residents that I was still vying,” Mr Odhiambo said.
He also received two other vehicles from a well-wisher, who would also send monetary support to sustain his campaigns.
He said he was not surprised to be announced the winner.
“My mother and wife have been my greatest support system and I am glad not to have disappointed them,” he said.
He now plans to finish his master’s degree in business administration at Nairobi University. His studies were interrupted by the onset of Covid-19.
He is also eyeing higher political seats in the future with the support of his people.