An aspirant in the Ugenya parliamentary by-election has resigned from ODM after the party gave former MP Chris Karan a direct ticket.
Daniel Juma said he was still in the race.
Juma, the executive director of Global Peace Foundation in Kenya, issued his official resignation last Thursday to protest the party’s decision to hand out a direct ticket.
Juma said he will be on the ballot “come rain or shine,” saying his competitor (Karan) who was favoured by the party leadership, lacks support of the electorate.
“He may have chosen the easy path and arm-twisted the ODM party to give him direct nomination. But this esay path is the poisoned chalice that will see the people of Ugenya send him home once and for all,” Juma said in a statement.
The main contenders in the April 5 by-election are former MPs Karan and Dave Ochieng of the Movement for Democratic Growth.
Ochieng successfully challenged Karan’s win in the courts. Juma said out of respect for the party leader Raila Odinga, he decided not to challenge the direct nomination of Karan at the ODM party tribunal and the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties tribunal.
He expressed dismay with the party saying not offering him the chance to contest the last election and this by-election is unfair. He said it infringes on his constitutional right as a member of the party
“There was no guarantee I will ever reach the ballot even in future elections if the trend of direct nominations persists,” Juma said.
He expressed confidence in clinching the seat on the ticket of a party he has not disclosed. Juma said Ugenya is one of the few constituencies in Nyanza that appreciates Kenya’s spirit of multiparty democracy.
“I will be relying on this multiparty spirit win the upcoming by-election.
I will also be relying on the fact that the people of Ugenya do not re-elect leaders who have served before.”
Juma said the people of Ugenya lost their voice in Parliament. Ugenya Constituency receives t Sh100 million CDF every year. Juma said the development on the ground doesn’t equate to the allocations due mismanagement by successive leaderships.
He said neighbouring constituencies were making strides in development, but not Ugenya.
“Ugunja was carved out of Ugenya just a few years ago, and it has made a lot of gains thanks to better leadership and management of public money,” he said.
The race is expected to be tough, owing to the small margin in the previous election between the two main contenders. In 2017, Ochieng won 23,418 votes to Karan’s 23,765 votes, a difference of just 347 votes.
Karan’s election was overturned.