Former chief beats odds to win county assembly seat
Most chiefs across the country are known for their stern looks and no nonsense work as administrators in villages trying to solve minor disputes and arresting those found to be breaking the law.
Donned in their official attires that signify authority and presence of government in the village, the chiefs are usually the first point of contact for many a villager when things are not going right.
However in some areas the chiefs are likeable while in others they are viewed with contempt. However, for the residents of West Sakwa Ward in Bondo Constituency, Siaya County their chief must have been a very good man. They decided to elect the immediate former Bondo Township Location chief, Maurice Aringo as the man to represent them in the Siaya County Assembly.
Fifty seven year old Aringo garnered 10,560 votes on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket to seize the seat from the incumbent, John Ombewa who vied an independent candidate and got 4,011 votes.
In an interview with Reject shortly after being declared winner by Bondo Constituency Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer John Matekwa, a jovial Aringo thanked West Sakwa voters for accepting and trusting him to be their leader.
“I am so happy for the good gesture that the people of West Sakwa have shown. I dedicate my win to them because of the trust they have in me,” he said.
Early this year, Aringo who is popularly known as ‘Chief Abudi’ retired after serving the residents of Bondo Township for over 24 years.
“I had not prepared to get into politics but I was urged by West Sakwa residents who recognized my leadership qualities to represent them at the County Assembly,” he said.
As an administrator, Aringo noted it was a big challenge switching to politics, which requires propaganda and resources.
“Ordinarily, one is regarded wealthy once you decide to vie for any political seat and people will always demand money from you,” he said arguing that he has been a servant of the people and that makes him ready to represent them in the assembly.
The former chief‘s journey to the seat was difficult. He campaigned mostly on foot and at times used a motorbike (boda-boda) to transverse the vast ward.
His bid was further complicated by wealthy opponents who worked hard to ensure that he lost the coveted seat.
“It was very difficult for them to find anything to fight me with because of my clean track record as an administrator,” he says with pride.
Aringo, who will no doubt be one of the sharpest brains in the Assembly, describes himself as a servant who has put himself in the shoes of the ordinary citizen and is ready to work for his people regardless of their political stand and ideology.
The first sign that Aringo was on his way to clinching the West Sakwa ward seat came last year, during a funeral, when the incumbent invited him to speak, not as an administrator but as a politician.
Aringo moved the crowd when he narrated how he met some two students who disclosed that they had heard their parents say they would back his political bid.
“I was riding to the office one morning and some two boys waved me down saying that my bike had a mechanical problem. I asked them who they were and they told me their names. When I started riding off, they asked me my name. When I said Chief Abudi, they told me that they had heard their parents saying that they would vote for me,” he told the cheering crowd.
The retired administrator lists his priorities as ensuring provision of clean water for area residents, fair distribution of bursary funds from the county government to needy children and ensuring that the residents do not suffer from famine.