The countryside in the Nyanza region is often characterized by wealth, class and pomp; midshipmen have convoys of classic vehicles. Convoys also have a vehicle carrying music and a public address system to attract crowds to rallies.
However, an aspirant to a parliamentary seat in Homa Bay County has been talked about in the villages for his peculiarity of using the boda boda as his main means of transport in his campaigns.
Shadrack Oketch, who is targeting the Kasipul parliamentary seat, has resorted to a motorbike in his campaigns as he rides through the vast constituency. Oketch always hires a boda boda whenever he wants to travel to meet with voters. The 43-year-old aspirant said he decided to use motorbikes in order to be in the same “class” as voters in Kasipul constituency.
He argued that bodaboda is the main means of transportation used by locals, thus creating familiarity with voters.
“Over 98% of Kasipul residents who travel from one part of this constituency to another use boda boda. I use boda boda in my campaigns to enable me to address the challenges our people face,” Oketch said. The Nairobian.
The Nairobi-based businessman argued that a good leader is one who understands the challenges that affect the people they lead. Using the boda boda allows him to go to inner parts of the constituency where vehicles can hardly access, he claims.
Oketch says he has to endure the dust caused by his opponents using vehicles in the countryside as most of the roads in the constituency are murram. He begins his campaigns by meeting groups of voters who gather in the villages. Sometimes he arrives at his rallies looking dusty.
But Oketch isn’t bothered by the negative perception someone may have of him. His position is that the most important aspect of a political campaign is the agenda.
“It doesn’t matter if my competitors drive classic vehicles or fly helicopters during campaigns. What’s important is accessing voters and selling my policies,” Oketch said.
In many cases, a vehicle is used by politicians to avoid young people who want handouts. But Oketch has a strategy he uses to prevent harassment by young people seeking handouts.
He argues that he created a mutual understanding between himself and voters so people would decouple his campaigns from the money.
“What I made the locals realize is that I’m not so rich that I can afford handouts. They accepted me as I am and no one caused any trouble during or after my campaign rallies,” Oketch said.
He outlined the agenda of what he wants to do to the people if elected.
In particular, they use its network to attract investors who can create agricultural product industries in the region.
This includes reviving the Ayoro coffee factory which collapsed a few years ago. These will promote agricultural production and improve employment opportunities.
He also wants to introduce legislations that will allow Kenyans to pay medical bills after receiving treatment, require Kenyans to use NHIF cards for outpatient services at any health facility and introduce a rent regulation authority for prevent tenants from being frustrated by landlords.