The forthcoming Ugenya constituency by-election is turning out as a political duel between Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Immediate former MP David Ochieng, who successfully petitioned Chris Karan’s win, is a close ally of the Deputy President.
Already, four candidates have been cleared to vie for the post as Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party promised to unleash the biggest campaign team ever to reclaim the seat.
Senior ODM officials said they will use all campaign tactics to ensure its candidate Chris Karan, whose election was nullified by the Supreme Court, is re-elected.
Siaya Senator James Orengo, said the Handshake between their leader Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta had given them political impetus. Ruto, who is seen as a frontrunner in the battle to succeed President Uhuru in 2022 has been relying on Ochieng to marshal support in the larger Luo-Nyanza region.
In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Ochieng ditched the Orange party and vied on an MDG party ticket after he together with former Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura were branded as “moles”.
Obura who lost to Fred Ouda in the party primaries was appointed as Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community.
Even though the DP has not come out openly to declare his support for Ochieng, a source close to him said that he has an interest in the seat.
The source who sough anonymity said: “Ochieng is his personal friend and I can assure you that he will not abandon him”. Ochieng vowed to give ODM party a run for their money.
“Let me assure them that they will not have an easy ride in Ugenya. I am ready for them and we will face off in the ballot because my record speaks for itself,” he said.
But ODM led by Orengo are confident of retaining the seat. Daniel Juma of GDM party, William Sino (independent), Brian Onyango (Thirdway Alliance) and Joseph Mbugua (National vision party) have also been cleared by the IEBC to contest the April 5 by-election.