Decades after independence: Ugunja and Ugenya residents yet to realize dreams
SEE ALSO :MPs defy Uhuru, Raila on Gender BillHe says Ochieng overstepped party boundaries for the project and that it was courtesy of the 42 kilometre road currently under construction at a cost of sh1.2 billion through Ukwala that he came close to levelling votes with Chris Karan who beat him with a mere 347 votes in the August 2017 elections in spite of enjoying the advantage of being an ODM party candidate. Ochieng who contested on the little known Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party that he formed after losing favour with ODM and party leader Raila Odinga garnered 23,418 votes to Karan’s 23,765. Reason? He had been perceived a jubilee mole for reaching out to the Government to support his development forays and had no apologies to make about it. Now Ochieng has declared his readiness to return to the blocks on the same obscure party if Karan fails to get respite from the Supreme Court, ostensibly his last port of call to escape facing the electorate afresh. He is flaunting a string of development projects he managed to initiate in five years that besides the road include a forestry college at Yenga, the only one in Western Kenya, a Teacher Training College at Nyaharwa, a Medical Training Centre at Sihayi and facilities at Ukwala Level Four hospital.
SEE ALSO :Rosemary Odinga: Adjusting to new lifeWhile ODM obviously is the most formidable party in Ugenya and the entire Luo land where party leader Raila Odinga holds an unshakable forte, public opinion has it that forcing Karan back via a by-election would be a tall order indeed for the orange party. “Perhaps the best that ODM can do to retain the seat is to have a candidate popularly elected by the people through the party to face Ochieng, given the fact that Karan’s nomination in 2013 was controversial,” says staunch party supporter Ms Janet Onyinge who is the Secretary of Women’s league, Karuoth Sub location. Among individuals touted to possess the clout to give ODM a winning chance against Ochieng, Ms Onyinge opines, is Kenya Country Executive Director of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Mr Daniel Juma Omondi. “He has been on the development arena installing solar floodlights in Ukwala at a time the township was totally dark and distributed solar lanterns to deserving villagers. Juma has taken many local students for studies to South Korea and can easily win people’s support if he declares interest in the seat and wins ODM nomination,” says Ms Onyinge. “We also have journalist David Ohito who together with Siaya County Executive for Education, Youth, Gender and Social Services Ms Mary Omondi lost the controversial party nominations that produced Karan last year. He has not been much on the ground but can give Ochieng’ a run for his money if popularly nominated by the party,” says Ms Onyinge.