Many had believed they would be swept away by an ODM tide that appeared to sweep through Nyanza as results from Tuesday’s elections started trickling in.
The Orange party, led by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga was keen to recapture the seats it had lost in Kisumu East, Kisumu West and Ugenya constituencies. In the build-up to the polls, a sustained campaign against Independent candidates and other parties deemed as fringe parties featured with a rallying call to residents to embrace six-piece in favor of ODM candidates.
However, the efforts only bore fruit in Kisumu West where the party managed to reclaim the seat it lost to Ford Kenya in 2013, through Rosa Buyu. For Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir who contested as an Independent candidate, Migori businesswoman Fatuma Mohamed and Ugenya’s David Ochieng who defended his seat on a Movement for Development and Growth upsetting ODM was on their to-do list as voters went to polls.
They defied all odds stacked up against them to retain their seats in hotly contested polls. Shakeel who was ready to go against the grain read from the same script he used in past political battles to trounce ODM’s Nicholas Oricho to win a third term. But the win did not come on a silver platter. On one end, a section of elders from the two main clans-Kajulu and Kolwa had been hoping to rally the region to embrace clannism and unseat Shakeel.
On the flipside, the ODM party which is a dominant party in the region had also sustained an onslaught against Shakeel and had been keen to wrest the seat from him. In the build-up to the polls and in the last major rally that was held by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, Shakeel was even ejected from the venue as ODM troops sought to make a statement.
This was followed by an endorsement for Oricho. Yesterday, however, Shakeel and his supporters were all smiles after defying all odds to win another term as an Independent candidate. He garnered 35,704 votes defeating his closest competitor Oricho’s 28,491 votes. Popularly known as ‘Onyango wuon mogo’, the MP will be comfortably serving his fourth term.
He was Kisumu Mayor for two terms between the years 2000 and 2005, during which he was one of the most powerful men in town.
In Ugenya, MDG warded off a spirited attempt by ODM to reclaim the seat it lost in a by-election in 2018. Ochieng narrowly retained his seat by garnering 25,520 votes against Daniel Odhiambo’s 22,828. Ochieng also doubles up as the party leader of MDG.
Several candidates including Olago Oluoch and woman representative candidate for Siaya Sella Ayimba all lost their bids to defy the ODM wave on the MDG ticket. In Migori, businesswoman Fatuma Mohammed defied all odds to win the Migori Woman Rep seat as an Independent candidate.
She is a household name in Migori and one of the fastest rising politicians in the county where ethnic or party odds is not a guarantee for one to win seats. On two occasions, she lost her bid to clinch the coveted seat.