Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka’s recent dalliance with the Jubilee Party has returned to haunt him as he fights to retain his seat in August polls.
Mr Onyonka was among ODM politicians who unsuccessfully campaigned for the Jubilee candidate in the Nyacheki ward by-election.
He faced hostile youths who branded him a traitor.
Mr Onyonka said he attempted to sell Jubilee in Gusiiland but it proved difficult.
He then announced that he had returned to the ODM fold and apologised to the party’s rank and file.
“Kisii is 97 per cent ODM. I tried to sell that thing called Jubilee and I realised that it is difficult. I decided to return home,” said Mr Onyonka in Vihiga while announcing his return at a meeting attended by Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
“I take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Odinga and all ODM members,” Mr Onyonka said at the party’s meeting at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on October 31 last year.
However, his opponents have been keen to project him as a Jubilee mole in the Orange party.
“Our MP has run out of ideas and has been jumping from one party to another,” said businessman Antony Kibagendi, who is running against Mr Onyonka.
Mr Onyonka in the recent past faced hostile crowds unhappy with his wavering nature, forcing ODM party leader Raila Odinga to intervene.
The MP was booed by youths during Mr Odinga visit to Kisii to welcome former Cabinet minister Sam Ongeri to the Nasa alliance.
Some of the people Mr Onyonka will fight it out with are Mr Kibagendi – who has been one the forces behind the Kikao Youth forums addressed by Mr Odinga – and former Kisii mayor Samuel Omwando, who was recently elevated to be Kisii County ODM chairman.
“I am running to reclaim our people from hopelessness and despair. I want to inspire my generation that with good ideas we can do something about our situation,” said Mr Kibagendi, a regular ODM defender in TV talk shows.
But Mr Onyonka’s return to ODM seems to have rattled Mr Omwando, who was the front-runner for the ODM ticket. The two now don’t see eye to eye.
In December last year Mr Odinga convened a meeting with ODM aspirants and officials from the county, which, in 2013 General Election voted overwhelmingly for him, in an attempt to calm the simmering temperatures between the two.
Mr Onyonka, a former Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister, in 2013 clinched the seat with 17,274 against his closest challenger Mr Don Bosco Gichana (PDP) 8,203.
Mr Bosco remains locked up in a Tanzanian prison after being arrested with his lawyer friend Median Mwale on money laundering charges three years ago.
Although they were jointly charged for the alleged offence, he was later charged with 12 counts of forgery and altering bank documents in February 27, 2014.
The offence is not bailable, according to the Tanzanian law.
Mr Omwando promises to give Mr Onyonka a run for his money saying he has what it takes to win the ODM ticket.
But Mr Kibagendi expressed confidence that he will clinch the ODM ticket.
Another aspirant, Mr Andrew Maubi, a lecturer at Kenyatta University, jumped to Wiper from ODM probably after sensing the hurdles in clinching the ODM ticket.
Engineer Peter Mochoge will be vying for the seat on Amani National Congress Party.
Mr Mochoge said his drive to run for the seat is informed by the need to bring development in Kitutu Chache South.
The parliamentary aspirants will each be scrambling to get support from the over 45,000 registered voters in the region.
The constituency has pockets of Luo voters who are strong adherents of ODM. This explains the fierce battle for the ODM ticket as the candidate will be assured of about 8,000 votes from the Luo community.