Family members, friends and relatives of the late Internal Security Assistant Minister Joshua Ojode Sunday held a commemoration of the tenth anniversary since the demise of the legislator.
During the memorial ceremony held in Ndhiwa town, local residents hailed the late Ojode saying that the projects he initiated still remain the economic pillars of the constituency.
The locals remember Ojode for establishing a sugar factory called Sukari Industry Ltd at Riat village in Kanyikela ward. The industry currently employs thousands of residents both directly and indirectly.
During his tenure, Ojode installed solar lights in a number of markets like Gaena, Pala Koguta and Ndhiwa market.
A local resident Vitalis Ochieng observed that the late Ojode remained famous not only in Ndhiwa but entire in Nyanza region due to his efforts to empower youths through education and securing them employment opportunities.
“This earned him a nickname Sirkal because he always had powers to fulfill what he promised,” Ochieng said.
His wife Mary Ojode says to date, many people call her telling her that her husband helped them in one way or another.
“They tell me how my late husband helped them secure jobs in government and private sector,” Mrs Ojode says.
She said the residents mention Sukari Industry Ltd as one of the initiatives which has reduced poverty in the constituency.
Many residents in Ndhiwa and neighbouring constituencies grow sugarcane as cash crop due to the proximity of the industry.
Previously, the family used to organize various sports activities in commemoration of Ojode.
Ojode died together with former Vice President George Saitoti in a helicopter crash in June 2012 on their way to to attend a fundraiser at Nyarongi Catholic Church in Ndhiwa constituency.
“I escaped death because I also wanted to board the same plane but my husband told me to remain behind because they were going to return to Nairobi that evening,” she added.
Mrs Ojode is vying for Homa Bay Woman Representative on a DAP-K party ticket.
She says she intends to follow on the foot prints of her late husband in terms of service delivery.
She said her husband used to consult her and they had to agree first before starting any development project.
“I supported my husband in his political endeavours and I did understand his network. I will empower our people the same way my husband did,” she said.
Mrs Ojode said it was regrettable that many women still fetch water for consumption from distant streams and rivers despite devolution of resources.
“People share the contaminated water sources with livestock thus leading to spread of waterborne diseases. Homa Bay is still lugging behind in development due to bad leadership,” Mary said.
She added that top on her agenda is to empower women, the youth and persons with disabilities.
“Being a widow, I understand tribulations which widows undergo. My intention is to empower women the youth and persons with disabilities,” she said.
Those vying for Homa Bay Woman Representative include Molline Ngala (independent), Joyce Osogo (ODM) Esther Ogweno (Independent) and Tabitha Nyandiek (Independent)