Inside Politics

ODM Kisii primaries kick off amid ticket tinkering claims

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022 08:12 | By
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati (centre) addresses Kisii aspirants during a briefing on Tuesday. PHOTO/Robert Ochoro

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters in Kisii county go to the polls today in wake of widespread claims of direct tickets having been reserved for some aspirants.

Yesterday, party officials were quick to refute claims of ticket tinkering in favour of certain preferred aspirants, including Woman Representative Janet Ong’era had been given a direct ticket.

 Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, who is eyeing the governor’s seat, maintained that no aspirant has been given a direct ticket.

 He, however, clarified that only aspirants without competitors will be given tickets.

 The MP, flanked by his running mate Dr Robert Monda, Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka, and county ODM chairman Kerosi Ondieki told aspirants on Tuesday that the nominations will be free and fair. 

“Onyonka and I have not been given tickets. It is propaganda that the party has given tickets to some aspirants,” Arati explained during the meeting attended by MP, Ward and Women Rep hopefuls.

 He stated that the aspirants had been briefed on the nomination process and appealed to youths not to be misused by politicians to cause violence.

He said the party’s register would be used during nominations.

 Echoing Arati’s sentiments, Kerosi said the party would conduct free, credible and verifiable elections, adding that plans had been finalised to ensure the exercise is seamless and transparent.

 ODM’s National Elections Board Chair Catherine Mumma had stated nominations for parliamentary and Ward Rep seats would be conducted in regions where consensus had failed while urging Woman Rep aspirants to respect the party’s decision.

 Woman Rep aspirant Dorice Aburi said Mumma called her on Tuesday and told her that there will be nominations for Woman Rep seat despite opinion polls commissioned by the party showing that she (Aburi) was the clear front runner for the ticket.

Best candidates

 “I urge my supporters to be patient, calm and not to be dampened with the decision. I assure you that my name will be on the ballot come August 9,” Aburi, who attended the meeting alongside rivals- Evelyn Ogendo and Brigit Ombati, explained after the meeting skipped by Ong’era.

 Onyonka said there will be no nominations in 10 wards where aspirants had agreed on consensus.

 “We want to get the best candidates to back former Prime Minister Raila Odinga should he be elected the fifth president,” Onyonka said. 

A total of 103 aspirants are seeking parliamentary, Ward and gubernatorial ticket to vie for elective seats even as Nyaribari Masaba parliamentary hopeful Lisper Maseme urged the party’s top leadership to suspend the exercise to allow aspirants prepare well.

 Last week, several youths protested against the party’s decision to give Ong’era the ticket even as some members of county Assembly, led by Josephine Ombati, defended her, saying she is a pillar in the party and deserved the ticket.

 Ombati said Ong’era campaigned for Raila in 2013, 2017 and it was necessary to give her the ticket to enable her campaign for the ODM boss even more.  

 Speaking to People Daily, Mumma refuted claims that ODM had handed a direct ticket to Ongera.

This is after reports emerged that Ong’era had been given the party’s nomination certificate without undergoing nomination. Ong’era, a former Nominated Senator, is facing a fierce battle from four contenders including her 2017 closest rival Aburi, who vied on a Jubilee ticket but has now decamped to ODM.

Fierce battle

Ong’era shelved her governor ambitions and opted to defend her Woman Rep seat.

 “Aspirants in Kisii were under the impression that we had handed over the certificate to the Woman Rep. I would like to assure them that we have not handed over any certificate,” said Mumma in an interview on Monday.

“We had a conversation around consensus. We have not arrived at that consensus. As it is we are actually planning to carry out nominations in Kisii on Thursday,” added Mumma.  “So, consensus will be ongoing and can happen even the day before the nominations,” she held.

On Thursday last week, Ong’era’s supporters, led by Nominated MCAs Josephine Ombati and Jane Justine, lauded the decision to give her a direct ticket.

They said she was the most popular and has been a loyal party member and strong Raila campaigner.

This even as a section of aspirants have cautioned ODM against the direct tickets.

The aspirants said the party appears to “repeat the same mistake that was made in 2017 that led to it not having a single MP elected on its ticket despite its popularity.”

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