ODM's daunting task to retain Ugenya parliamentary seat

Kenya Young Parliamentarian Association, Secretary General and Ugenya MP David Ochieng address the participants during the conference at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi in 2014. [File, Standard]

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) faces an uphill task to keep the Ugenya parliamentary seat should a by-election be called.

Although ODM’s Chris Karan has expressed interest in challenging last week’s Court of Appeal verdict at the Supreme Court, residents are preparing for another political contest.

Former MP David Ochieng’s Movement for Development and Growth (MDG) party has vowed to upset ODM should Karan opt for a by-election.

Karan on the other hand has vowed to “end Ochieng’s political career.”

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“He started a legal war and that is the path we will follow. We will fight this battle to the end and even if the verdict of the court still favours him, I will come back to the people and defeat him once and for all,” said Karan.

Ochieng contested in last year's elections on an MDG ticket.

The Standard has established that grassroots mobilisation has started with the ODM brigade vowing to recapture the seat, either through legal means at the Supreme Court or a by-election.

Party slogans

Following last week’s verdict, Karan declared that development had been put to the test in Ugenya, and vowed to retain the seat.

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The ruling saw ODM supporters chanting party slogans outside the court, claiming the party was still the strongest in Ugenya.

But a defiant Ochieng, who contested using his MDG party after he fell out with ODM, said he is banking on development projects that he started between 2013 and 2017 to capture the seat.

Ochieng decamped from ODM to form MDG before last year's poll, citing frustrations from top party leadership.

According to Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) results that were dismissed by the courts, Karan garnered 23,418 votes, 347 votes ahead of Ochieng.

In his case at the High Court, Ochieng had claimed that Karan and the ODM brigade had launched a propaganda campaign against him claiming he was a Jubilee party mole.

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He told the court that by tarnishing his name with propaganda, ODM made it difficult for him to campaign which affected the results of the polls.

“I was portrayed as anti-Raila instead of basing their campaigns on policies and the development plans they have for the people of Ugenya,” said Ochieng.

He said that his track record during the term he served as an MP was his selling point to the people of Ugenya.

With the recent handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, the campaign dynamics in Nyanza are set to change, with leaders saying it is up to the people to decide.

“The Ugenya political leadership is a matter that is exclusively in the hands of Ugenya people,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi

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He, however, appealed for calm, saying the seat was still not vacant.

In March this year, after the High Court nullified Karan’s win, ODM leaders promised to camp in the constituency to ensure that the party retains the seat

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