COUNTY POLITICS: Battle pitting ODM against Jubilee Party takes shape in Nakuru Town West


Already, some 15 aspirants are scheming to unseat Samuel Arama, the current Member of Parliament.

A fierce political battle between the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Jubilee Party is shaping up in Nakuru Town West.

Already, some 15 aspirants are scheming to unseat the incumbent, Samuel Arama, in the August 8 polls.

Mr Arama was the only legislator in Nakuru County elected on an ODM ticket in the 2013 General Election.

The rest of the parliamentary seats in the region were shared out between The National Alliance Party (TNA) and Kanu.

TNA has since been dissolved and merged with other political parties to form the Jubilee Party, the political vehicle to be used by President Kenyatta for his re-election in this year’s General Election.

Mr Arama has, in the meantime, switched his allegiance to the President’s party.

His defection has, in the meantime, presented him a major challenge as he will now have to fight it out with seven other aspirants also eyeing the Jubilee ticket.

The aspirants include former Nakuru mayor John Kitilit, considered an ally of Deputy President William Ruto.

Others are youthful Victor Ngatia, Mr Mwangi Kariko, Mr Charles Maisiba, Mr William Towet, Mr Mohamed Suraw and Ms Francisca Kamuren, a former member of the Nakuru County Public Service Board.

Those eyeing the seat on opposition tickets include Mr Eric Ogada, Mr Sospeter Nyakundi, Mr Hezron Okiki, Mr Isoe Ochoki, Mr Peter Ndubi, Mr Likwilo Ndeta, Mr Jimmy Ojwang and Mr James Michoma.

All the aspirants have hit the ground running, employing various campaign tactics to woo voters.

Political pundits in the region say ODM will have to work hard to retain the seat.

Jubilee Party, on the other hand, is wary of any fallout that may arise as a result of partisan primaries. 

It is believed ODM won the seat in 2013 because TNA and the United Republican Party fielded candidates, despite being in one coalition.

Mr Arama won the seat after garnering 19,959 votes. Charles Maisiba the TNA candidate, followed closely with 17,837 votes.

Last year, Mr Arama fell out with his party leader Raila Odinga and decamped to Jubilee.

While defending his decision to work with the government, Mr Arama says his constituents had benefited immensely from various development projects.

In an interview with the Nation, Mr Arama said the times have changed and the area is no longer an ODM zone.

“I will win comfortably and with a big margin in the August General Election on a JP ticket,” he says.

For close to one year, the ODM rebel has been seen to be working closely with Jubilee stalwarts to popularise the party in the region.

But ODM aspirant Eric Ogada has a contrary view. “This constituency still remains an ODM zone,” he says while exuding confidence that he will be the party’s flagbearer once the primaries, scheduled for next month, have been completed.

“I am confident that l will win both the primaries and the August 8 polls with a landslide,” he said.

Mr Ogada says his main task, if elected, will be to rehabilitate the poor road network in the region, improve education facilities in the area and upgrade slums.

County ODM youth leader Hilton Abiola supports Mr Ogada’s views.

“Nakuru Town West remains an ODM region. We will prove our opponents wrong in the August 8 polls. Mr Arama may have left ODM, but he left alone,” says Mr Abiola.

ODM is also seeking to retain the Kaptembwo ward seat which it clinched during the 2013 polls.

The constituency is dominated by informal settlements, including Kaptembwo slums.

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