Karachuonyo MP James Rege has left his opponents guessing following his deafening silence on his next political move.
The MP told the Nation that he is set to “bow to pressure” from his constituents who want him to retain the seat.
“I will honour calls by my constituents who want me to continue implementing the development projects in the constituency,” Mr Rege said.
However, many aspirants seeking to unseat Mr Rege are accusing him of underdeveloping the constituency and non-loyalty to ODM party, which enjoys unequivocal support in the area.
The aspirants include journalist Anderson Ojwang, businessman Seth Okute, former Ambassador to Egypt David Arunga, Homa Bay Public Service Board former acting secretary Steve Biko, Obel Nyanja, George Rachuonyo and seasoned politician Adipo Okuome.
The race is pitting seasoned politicians against newcomers.
ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER
Mr Rege is banking on achievements in his two-term stint to win re-election, for instance development projects commissioned by the Constituency Development Fund such as roads and newly built classrooms in schools.
“I have improved education standards in the constituency by building new classrooms in several schools and sponsoring teachers’ degree education,” he said.
Mr Okute has, however, accused the MP of not doing enough to provide clean and safe water to residents.
“Mr Rege has failed to ensure that residents of Karachuonyo have access to clean water. He does not deserve re-election,” Mr Okute said.
Aspirants Ojwang’, Odidi, Arunga and Okuome have vowed to ensure that Mr Rege is not re-elected after his “failure” to turn around the fortunes of the constituency.
“Mr Rege has not brought any meaningful development to residents of Karachuonyo. I am committed to ensure that he is not re-elected,” Mr Ojwang’ said.
Mr Okuome - who in the last general election - claimed that Mr Rege “stole” his victory during the ODM nomination has vowed to reclaim his “lost” seat.
“It is very clear that I should be the MP for Karachuonyo and not Mr Rege. I will not be rigged out this time round,” Mr Okuome vowed.
The aspirants have also attacked the soft spoken lawmaker over his dalliance with the Jubilee government, accusing him of betraying ODM leader Raila Odinga.
“Mr Rege has betrayed Opposition leader Raila Odinga by working closely with the Jubilee regime. He is not an ODM loyalist,” Mr Arunga said.
Mr Rege has defended his close links with the Jubilee administration, explaining that they have benefited his constituents.
“My voters need development. I am, therefore, working with the Jubilee government to ensure that they receive development because they also pay taxes like other Kenyans,” Mr Rege added.
The legislator lists several projects in the constituency as the fruits to his closeness with the Jubilee administration.
He mentions the planned tarmacking of Ojijo Oteko Ring Road and Kendu Bay-Oyugis Road.
Mr Rege has explained that he does not have any problem with Mr Odinga as his opponents claim.
“I am not an enemy of Mr Odinga as my opponents claim. They are peddling lies,” Mr Rege said.
Clan factor is also set to determine the next legislator for the populous constituency.
Mr Rege, who hails from Kanjira sub-clan in West Karachuonyo, enjoys support in the region but the candidatures of Arunga, Ojwang’, Odidi, Rachuonyo and Okute, who are all coming from his backyard, are likely to tear his support base.
Mr Okuome, who is from East Karachuonyo, has been a victim of clan politics in the last two elections.
In 2013, Mr Okuome lost to Mr Rege following claims that the East Karachuonyo region had produced the county’s governor and could not be issued with an additional seat.
Mr Okuome has rubbished the clan factor in Karachuonyo politics, terming it a non-issue.
“I have initiated development projects across the constituency without getting into issues of clans. I need to be viewed with what I can do and not my clan,” he said.
Mr Rege, who said he is set to seek re-election as an independent candidate, has promised to defeat his opponents.
“My opponents in ODM should choose one candidate whom I am going to confine to political dustbin on the election day,” he vowed.