Close allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga were on Monday given the greenlight by the electoral agency to contest governorship positions in various counties in Western Kenya.
Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo and former Ketraco CEO Fernandez Baraza were all cleared to contest in their respective counties.
The three, however, face stiff competition from competitors who also enjoy massive support.
In Homa Bay, Ms Wanga dared former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero to a tough political contest after both were cleared to vie for the governor’s seat in the August 9 elections.
Ms Wanga said she was positive she would win, telling residents to expect a hot, historic political battle.
She and Dr Kidero are competing for the seat that will be left vacant after Governor Cyprian Awiti retires.
Ms Wanga (ODM) was cleared by the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday, a day after Dr Kidero also got the nod as an independent candidate.
Dr Kidero toured the county on Sunday and spoke about his agenda that he calls “Homa Bay manyien” (new Homa Bay), which he said will empower residents by building industries and constructing roads, among other development projects.
During the tour, he unveiled his running mate, former County Public Service Board member and Karachuonyo parliamentary aspirant Elijah Kodo, who he said could have suffered the same fate as former police spokesman Charles Owino, who was recalled to the police service after he declared his interest to be Siaya governor aspirant Nicholas Gumbo’s running mate.
Fate that befell the people of Siaya
“I decided to unveil my running mate at the last minute because I did not want to suffer the same fate that befell the people of Siaya. We expect a landslide victory,” Dr Kidero said.
In Siaya, Senator Orengo said that the only way to help Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential hopeful Raila Odinga deliver his manifesto as President is by ensuring he gets more elected leaders in his party in the August 9 polls.
Mr Orengo, who was cleared by the IEBC to contest the Siaya governor’s seat under ODM, said the party would strive to convince residents to vote for only its candidates in the county.
He was the second governor candidate to be cleared for Siaya after former Rarieda lawmaker Nicholas Gumbo of the United Democratic Movement party.
With the IEBC nod, Mr Orengo has promised intensive campaigns ahead of the elections.
He also championed six-piece voting in Siaya, saying it is the only way Mr Odinga can implement his policies if he becomes the fifth President.
“In order to ensure that the manifesto of the Azimio la Umoja is implemented when Mr Odinga assumes power, we must ensure that he gets more leaders elected on his Orange party, especially from his backyard; our party drives progressive ideas and is geared towards achieving the wishes of the people,” said Mr Orengo.
He added: “We need legislators in the Senate as well as in the National Assembly that will help in implementing the government agenda. Mr Odinga also needs governors and the MCAs who will implement the policies without imposing hurdles.”
Senator Orengo has promised transparency in managing public funds and better services for the people.
“The pertinent issues in Siaya County include clean water for all the residents, better healthcare and education for all the children. These will be my foremost priorities [after I am] elected as the second governor of this great county,” he said.
Mr William Oduol, his running mate, promised that Siaya would become the county of excellence after they take the mantle from the outgoing Governor Cornel Rasanga.
“We will utilise the resources that we already have in the county to improve the lives of the residents; we have Lake Victoria and the two large rivers that are River Yala and River Nzoia flowing through the county and we will utilise them to make life better,” said Mr Oduol.
Earlier, the IEBC rejected the candidacy of Ms Millicent Oduor of UDA on the grounds that her running mate, Ms Gorretty Atieno, had not resigned from her employer, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Contest the governor’s seat
Meanwhile, Kisumu ex-governor Jack Ranguma was cleared to contest the governor’s seat on a Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party ticket.
Mr Ranguma, who is seeking to recapture the seat he lost in 2017, accused his opponent, Governor Anyang Nyong’o, of riding on World Bank projects to seek votes.
“Our outgoing governor specialises in propaganda. I will tell the truth as it is. I will repeat what I said during a radio talk show this morning – I am the one who initiated those projects,” said Mr Ranguma.
He was speaking at Tom Mboya Labour College after he was cleared by the IEBC alongside his running mate Tom Ndalo.
“When I get back to office I have to complete the projects we had started that were identified by the people,” said Mr Ranguma.
He accused Governor Nyong’o of failing to pay contractors their money dating back five years.
For Mr Baraza, the much awaited clearance finally ended after days of push and pull for his running mate, Lugari MP Ayub Savula, to be cleared by his former university.
“[Our clearance means] that we now have the keys to lead to victory. We promise to leave no stone unturned because we represent millions in Kakamega who yearn for mature leadership,” said Mr Baraza.
BY RUSHDIE OUDIA, ELIZABETH OJINA, GEORGE ODIWUOR, and SHABAN MAKOKHA, KASSIM ADINASI