Parties to battle it out in Migori Senate race

Eddy Gicheru Oketch (left) President ONGOZA and Jimmy Wanjala during the launch of a youth Iniative called 'ONGOZA' at The Sarova Panafric hotel,Nairobi. ONGOZA is a youth iniative targeting to build a resilient community of locally engaged youth business leaders who inspires,grows and connects the youths with others in the community. March 8th,2016. [Photo: Elvis Ogina (Nairobi)

Candidates for the Migori Senate seat by-election will today begin to present their nomination papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

One of the candidates is Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party's Ochillo Ayacko, who is expected to present his papers at Migori Teachers College this morning.

He will be followed by Federal Party of Kenya (FPK) candidate Eddy Oketch and two independent candidates - Solomon Hodo and Kennedy Makasembo - who will present their papers between 9am and 5pm on Thursday.

Two fringe parties have mounted an onslaught against ODM in the by-election slated for October 8.

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Former long-serving Cabinet minister Dalmas Otieno will be contesting on a National Liberal Party (NLP) ticket while businessman Eddy Oketch will be flying the FPK flag.

The two will face Mr Ayacko in what is likely to be a fierce popularity contest pitting a mainstream party against smaller and less-known outfits.

Already, the candidates and their parties have launched spirited campaigns, including defending their symbols.

The ODM will be using its orange symbol while Mr Otieno has picked the giraffe. Mr Oketch's symbol is a clenched fist.

Recapture seat

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According to ODM chairman John Mbadi, the party is keen to recapture the seat it won in last year's General Election.

"ODM is going to pool its synergies and resources to make sure that it subdues the giraffe and humbles the clenched fist," he told The Standard.

The party chairman also appealed for peaceful campaigns.

However, Otieno claims he was denied a nomination ticket by ODM, prompting him to pick a different party through which to vie for the seat.

"We wanted to run on an ODM ticket but we were tossed left and right as elders. So I have decided to run via NLP whose symbol is the giraffe," he said.

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Kennedy Okello, the FPK secretary general, told The Standard in Kisumu yesterday that they would do everything in their power to resist Ayacko and sway the votes in Oketch's favour.

Oketch contested the seat in the last elections and emerged second after Senator Okello.

"We are asking the Migori people to unite behind Oketch," said the FPK leader.

Oketch is hoping to cash in on his vast networks to pull a surprise win.

"I will be the surprise compromise candidate," he said.

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With ODM having mobilised supporters, including several governors, MPs and senators to campaign for Ayacko, a bruising fight looms for the Migori seat.

Otieno has joined forces with Migori Governor Okoth Obado, who has openly declared that he will be campaigning against Ayacko.

Mr Obado has told his supporters to back Otieno.

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