Western politicians target last-minute deciders on final day of campaigns

ANC gubernatorial candidate Cleophas Malala and his deputy Dr Beatrice Inyangala with supporters in Kakamega town on June 27, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Aspirants in western Kenya intensified their political activities on the final day of campaigns on Saturday, August 6, 2022, as they sought to convince voters ahead of Tuesday's elections.

Some used hired choppers to address as they sought to address as many rallies as possible before the end of the campaign period set out in the law.

In Kakamega, Kenya Kwanza governor aspirant Cleophas Malala and his running mater Beatrice Inyangala traversed Likuyani, Lugari, Malava, Lurambi, Mumias West, Navakholo, Mumias East, and Shinyalu sub-counties hoping to convince their supporters and win over new ones.

Speaking on Saturday at Kongoni village in Lugari sub-county, Malala called on residents to support his bid by turning out in large numbers and voting for him. He said he had the solution to the problems facing residents.

He called on the youth not to allow his rivals to bribe them. "I am asking you to come out in large numbers and vote for me. Don't allow anyone to buy you," Malala said.

"This is the last day of campaigns. We have 12 meetings to address. We are going to every sub-county to thank our people and remind them of why they need change by voting me in. Each sub-county has its unique needs. That's why I chose a woman, as a running mate, to help me deal with specific functions designated for women and youth. I have good plans for Kakamega County. I will ensure development is distributed equally,” Malala said.

Among other things, he promised to provide NHIF health cover for the elderly and also empower the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to curb maternal deaths, and create employment for young people.

ODM's governor candidate Fernandes Barasa and his running mate Ayub Savula also traversed various parts of the county calling on voters to elect them.

ODM's governor candidate Fernandes Barasa. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Malava parliamentary aspirant Benjamin Nalwa (MDP) also traversed various wards, holding several meetings including in homesteads, as he sought the support of residents.

"We already gave out our manifesto and now, it's just about familiarising ourselves with the people through these engagements. We are reminding them why they need to vote," Nalwa said.

Naomi Shiyonga, a Kakamega County Woman Rep aspirant, held a rally at Tumbeni junction in Malava where she called on residents to elect her. If elected, she said she will ensure equal distribution of resources to all sub-counties, empower businesses, provide bursaries to needy students, and put up modern markets.

Chemuche ward aspirants Ngaira Kakai and Butrali-Chegulo ward aspirants Habil Lipesa, both of ODM, as well held several rallies in their attempt to win over residents. They also campaigned for Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga and ODM governor candidate Barasa, who also traversed various sub-counties in search of votes.

In Vihiga, several candidates came out to utilize the few hours they had to woo voters. Most of them use public address systems mounted atop lorries as they went around villages making their final submissions. Mudete, Chavakali, Mbale, and Luanda were busy as the politicians made their rounds.

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo campaigned in different parts of the region, including Emuhuya, as he sought to boost his re-election bid.

"I am asking you to protect your IDs so you can be able to vote," said the governor, adding; "We are almost there. Confirm your identity card is secure because that is all you need to vote, and please, vote for me." 

Dr Ottichilo will be vying on an ODM ticket and he faces stiff competition from Senator George Khaniri (UDP), former governor Moses Akaranga of PPOK, Francis Ominde of FPK, and Alfred Agoi of Musalia Mudavadi-led ANC.

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Khaniri took his final campaigns to Busali in Sabatia constituency where he asked the voters to consider him, promising to ensure prudent use of county resources.

“My people, we are here to ask you to support my bid so I can change this county to be a better place,” Khaniri said.

The candidates also asked the locals to maintain peace during this crucial period. Residents too said they hope the elections will be peaceful.

“We want to have peace on Tuesday and days after. We hope politicians will not use our youth to cause havoc,” said David Sabwa, a resident of Mbale.

In Bungoma, governor aspirant Kenneth Lusaka of Ford Kenya held a series of rallies across five constituencies - Bumula, Kanduyi, Kabuchai, Kimilili, and Webuye -  asking voters for another chance to complete the projects he started when he served as the county's first governor. He is the current speaker of the Senate.