John Pesa, an aspirant for Migori governor under the DAP-K party, is fighting off claims that he is being financed by Deputy President William Ruto.
The former MP has been under sharp criticism from opponents after the incumbent Governor Okoth Obado endorsed him on May 9.
The governor was recently named by DP Ruto as one of his campaign cogs in the Nyanza region.
Mr Pesa has denied the claims, noting that he did not have “any links with the Kenya Kwanza presidential aspirant”.
“I am not in any way affiliated to Dr Ruto and anyone purporting to associate me with him is spreading propaganda and falsehoods to deny me votes,” he said.
“This is propaganda by my rivals who are scared of being rejected by voters.”
He expressed his “unwavering support” for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga, urging voters not to take Mr Obado’s utterances seriously.
“What Mr Obado said was his idea. I am nobody’s stooge and no one can speak for me, because I was elected MP and [and I was once] a teacher,” he said.
On May 9, asked by the public in Karamu centre, Kuria West constituency, whom he would vote for in the presidential and governor races, Mr Obado said he would support Dr Ruto and Mr Pesa.
Dr Ruto, while unveiling Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate in the August 9 polls, said Mr Obado would be his point man in Nyanza.
“Mr Pesa should come out strongly and distance himself not only from Ruto and hustlers, but also from Obado. As party officials, we are worried that his continued association with the pair will antagonise our presidential candidate,” Migori DAP-K chairman Samuel Migore said.
Mr Migore, speaking to reporters in Migori town, accused Mr Pesa of using Mr Obado’s supporters and former campaigners and ignoring the party hierarchy in the campaigns.
“We need to move on and clear the air, move as a team to ensure DAP-K wins the governor seat, otherwise we will be forced to move and support the ODM candidate,” he said.
Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko, a front-runner in the governor’s race, alleged that Mr Pesa had been planted by the DP in the 'guise of DAP-K'.
“It is in the public domain that Mr Obado has been Dr Ruto’s point man from the word go and we know he has been planting candidates under Azimio to destabilise Raila’s presidency,” Mr Ayacko said.
The duo will face off with Jubilee candidate Dalmas Otieno, UDA candidate Rebecca Maroa and independent candidates Robert Okongo, Philip Mwabe and Byron Oginga and others.