, SIAYA, Kenya, Oct 16 – The electorate in Siaya County go to the polls on Thursday to elect a Governor after the High Court nullified Cornel Rasanga’s March 4 victory.
Rasanga who is defending his seat on an ODM party ticket is set to meet stiff competition from William Oduol of the National Agenda Party of Kenya.
The campaigns ended on Tuesday and preparations are complete with the dispatch of ballot materials in the six constituencies.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission returning officer Jackline Osiemo said the county had 312,441 registered voters.
Osiemo explained that the commission was ready for the by-election and is very confident of a smooth and successful exercise.
“All our programmes have been running smoothly and we have no fear of any failure. Adequate security is in place to ensure voters cast their votes in a conducive environment,” she said.
She said her office recorded no complaint over campaigns, bearing in mind that the election of Rasanga was nullified based on the nature of campaigns he mounted targeting his rival Oduol.
However, the campaigns for the by-election were not without propaganda to woo voters ahead of polling.
CORD and its affiliated party members went round the county and announced that the by-election exercise was not between Rasanga and Oduol, but rather between former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Rasanga had lately been campaigning on a platform that he be allowed back to continue with the work he had started and there is no need to change the gubernatorial tenant.
“I had set the development agenda of Siaya running by putting in place the Cabinet and the county service board. Mine will be to pull the wagon out of the station,” he said in several rallies.
His nomination had hiccups with many people demanding that he be dropped and a transparent party nomination conducted to select a formidable candidate to take on Oduol.
However, the party later settled on him since replacing him would have created a major rift among the party supporters thus giving Oduol an easy win.
Oduol on his part has been urging the people of Siaya to elect leaders but not parties if they want the county to develop.
His agenda for the people of Siaya is to transform the county that he feels has lagged behind due to bad politics and stifling of democracy.
“It is my prayer that the people of Siaya will rise from party politics and elect that person who is dedicated to address their aspirations and pull them out of poverty. And that is Oduol,” he said.
Oduol who was branded a Jubilee mole fought the accusation noting that those are meant to deny him votes in areas he is perceived to be popular.
Unlike Rasanga who received a boost in his campaign meetings by the attendance of CORD party officials led by Odinga, Oduol has traversed the vast county only with former Alego Usonga MP Sammy Weya supporting his cause.
Both the candidates except for the third candidate Noah Winja who is contesting on an independent ticket hail from Alego Usonga constituency.
Winja who hails from Gem constituency picked his wife Mercy Winja as his running mate.
Rasanga retained his running mate Wilson Ouma from Bondo constituency while Oduol dropped his early running mate who hailed from Rarieda constituency and picked on Scott Ondiek from Bondo constituency.
Oduol’s dropping of the Rarieda running mate and subsequent picking of a Bondo running mate according to observers is poised to lock votes for him from the constituency.
“In the last General Election, Oduol garnered many votes in Rarieda compared to Rasanga but this was as a result of picking a running mate from the constituency. This time round I see him getting fewer votes,” observed a voter.
Other constituencies that are part of the county include, Ugenya, Ugunja and Gem.
Rasanga is expected to vote at Segere Primary School polling station at 7.30am while Oduol will cast his vote at Siaya County council polling station at a time to be announced later.
The tallying of the votes will be done at Siaya IEBC hall.