The Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) has suffered a setback after losing several officials in Bungoma County who defected to Ford Kenya.
The defecting officials were received by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Ford Kenya's governorship aspirant in the county. They accused the Wafula Wamunyinyi-led party of sidelining them.
DAP-K is allied to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition whose presidential candidate is ODM leader Raila Odinga. On the other hand, Ford Kenya, which is part of the United Democratic Alliance of Deputy President William Ruto, is led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula.
- Green City turns blue as Azimio wins most seats
- Voters show more faith in women by electing them to top positions
- Yellow wave sweeps away Azimio sympathisers in South Rift
- Three suspects arrested with marked election papers
And Mr Lusaka was at hand to receive the officials at Lusaka Command Centre in Bungoma town on behalf of Ford Kenya leadership.
The officials also pledged support for Lusaka saying he initiated many projects when he served as Bungoma governor.
"We believe he should get a chance so he can complete the many projects he started," said Webuye East DAP-K chairman Wafula Wanyama who was among those who quit the party.
He added: "Wycliffe Wangamati, who is seeking to defend the governor's seat on DAP-K ticket has not done much. His track is not very impressive."
"The governor has pushed us to the periphery as far as the management of DAP-K is concerned. He has sidelined us from the party's activities here. That is why we thought it wise to go where we shall be appreciated.”
"Working with Lusaka is easy because he is a straightforward man. He does not despise people and appreciates when you support him."
Another official, Moses Nyongesa, said he quit DAP-K after finding it hard to sell the outfit and its candidates including, Wangamati, in the region.
“The six-piece voting pattern being pushed by the party cannot be achieved in Bungoma. You cannot bully voters into supporting unpopular candidates just because they belong to a certain party,” said Nyongesa.
The officials also accused the county government of failing to complete some of the projects that were initiated by Lusaka when he was governor between 2013 and 2017.
“In Misikhu, we have the Brigadier road that Lusaka started constructing but it has stalled. How will you convince the voters that the project will be completed in the next five years without having a new county boss in office?” said Nyongesa.
Lusaka has vowed to complete all stalled projects initiated by his administration if elected governor on August 9.
“You people have made a very wise decision. We shall work together as we did in the past and complete all projects we initiated in 2013,” said Lusaka.
He also promised to fix the county’s economy and ensure equitable distribution of resources.