The race for Ugenya parliamentary by election kicked off Monday with four candidates being cleared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Immediate former area legislator Christopher Odhiambo Karan was cleared to vie for the seat on Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket while a former legislator who petitioned his 2017 election David Ochieng will contest on Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG).
It was a beehive of activity at Sega youth polytechnic where the candidates presented their papers to the returning officer Vincent Saitabau after which they left for the campaign trail.
Addressing the media after presentation of papers, Karan said he was out to prove the courts which nullified his election wrong by successfully defending the seat.
He said he was validly elected during the last elections adding he does not mind facing the electorate again.
Siaya Senator James Orengo and Members of Parliament Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) and Dr. Christine Ombaka (Siaya Women Rep) said the entire ODM machinery would be unleashed in Ugenya to ensure that the party retained the seat.
Orengo said that the party could not afford to lose the seat to any other party as doing so would be an affront to the party leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. “We will prove that the political strength of Raila is beyond testing by political novices,” said Orengo.
The other candidate to be cleared was Daniel Juma of the Grand Dream Development Party (GDDP) who said Ugenya residents were known to elect strong politicians without political party influence and that this time will not be exceptional.
“The voters are not happy with the current leadership. We cannot have leaders who hide their weaknesses behind political parties,” he said.
Brian Omondi of the Third Way Alliance said that political parties would not influence the voting pattern and urged the voters to vote wisely if they expected the constituency to prosper.
The returning officer Vincent Saitabau said that only four candidates were cleared to vie after presenting their papers.
“The fifth candidate, Joseph Mbugua Mburu of the National Vision Party (NVP) who was represented by Paul Lagat was not cleared after some anomalies were detected in his forms,” said Saitabau.
Saitabau said that the representative was sent back to go and fill the gaps and return Tuesday.
He called on the candidates and their parties to ensure a peaceful and mature campaign, adding that as IEBC, they were prepared for the elections.
By Philip Onyango