Former journalist David Ohito, the running mate of governor aspirant Nicholas Gumbo, has promised a complete overhaul of the way services are offered in Siaya County in the first 100 days in office if the two are elected in the August 9 elections.
Mr Ohito, the secretary-general of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) party, replaced former police spokesman Charles Owino, who was reinstated in the police service last week.
The Gumbo-Owino ticket had posed a major threat to ODM Senator James Orengo, who is also in the race to succeed Governor Cornel Rasanga.
UDM, led by Mandera Governor Ali Roba, is a member of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party that is headed by former premier Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“For the first 100 days, hold me on this, we shall ensure that all the public health facilities have enough drugs and manpower to offer services to the people of Siaya. We must change things in this county,” said Mr Ohito at his homecoming party in Uyundo, Ugenya.
He added: “We have a clear roadmap that will deliver Siaya County from the current state of confusion, and we know what is good for our county people.”
Mr Ohito also stressed the need to nurture talents in Siaya County.
“The best Luo musicians come from Siaya, therefore we need a talent academy that will allow us the opportunity to sharpen their talents. This is possible because it has been done elsewhere in this country,” he noted.
Mr Ohito made his political debut in 2017 when he sought the Ugenya seat but lost in the ODM party primaries.
Mr Owino’s return to the police service after requesting early retirement has been viewed as one example of the state using its resources to safeguard its interests in Siaya County.
But Mr Gumbo downplayed claims that he had been weakened, saying that he is the candidate and departure of Mr Owino would change nothing in his bid.
The former Rarieda MP promises to provide better education for all the Siaya children.
“After you elect me, no child in Siaya will stay home for lack of school fees; education will be a basic right to all the children,” he said.
He accused the outgoing governor of doing little to ensure that the natural resources in Siaya benefited residents.
“Alego Usonga people are crying that they did not vote for me in 2017, thinking that their son, who is the outgoing governor, was the better option,” he said.
“Today, Dominion Farms in the Yala swamp that employed people was closed down and the governor did nothing. It is not a matter of me against your son, it is service delivery against empty rhetoric.”
Mr Ohito’s task now is delivering Ugenya votes to Mr Gumbo against their main challenger, Mr Orengo, who is also from Ugenya constituency.
Mr Gumbo’s original calculations involved having a running mate, Mr Owino, from the vote-rich Alego Usonga constituency. Mr Orengo also picked someone from the same constituency, Mr William Oduol.
Mr Gumbo and Mr Ohito will also have to work extra hard to get a good chunk of votes from Alego Usonga.