Inside Politics

Protests, delays as ODM party holds primaries

Thursday, April 14th, 2022 01:05 | By
Voters queue at Kisii Primary School polling station to nominate ODM aspirants. PHOTO/Robert Ochoro

The Orange Democratic Movement party’s nominations in Raila Odinga’s Siaya backyard were yesterday marred with long delays and widespread anomalies, sparking protests from some of the aspirants.

Voting failed to take place at a number of polling centres, especially in Bondo following technological challenges.

At Mageta Island, Nyangoma, Ulowa and  Burlowo centres  in the constituency, voting failed to take off altogether while at Usenge, the exercise turned chaotic as would be voters ran out of patience following the long delays.

In other parts of the county which is home to the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Odinga, the exercise was generally peaceful.

At most polling centers across the county, the voting exercise which was scheduled to start at 6 am did not kick off until well past 11 am while in some wards, the exercise started as late as 1pm. The lateness was blamed on the failure by the presiding officers to get the password for the electronic voting gadgets on time.

Aspirants for the various ward, woman representative and parliamentary seats blamed inadequate preparedness by the party for the hitches and missing names of some aspirants.

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda registered his disappointment with the hitches saying that the exercise had failed to kick off in seven polling stations due to lack of passwords needed to start the gadgets.

Ochanda who cast his vote at Jusa polling station was made to wait for four hours due to password failure.

 “There is a lot of disorganization and that resulted in the delays,” said Ochanda.

George Awinyo, an aspirant for the West Sakwa ward seat in Bondo constituency stormed several polling stations in his ward and disrupted the exercise since his name was missing from the list of contestants.

“ODM has removed my name from the list yet i paid the nomination fee of Sh 25,000 and engaged in aggressive campaigns that consumed lot of resources,” Awinyo protested.

Siaya county ODM assistant chair George Mawere said they will not accept the party nomination  results without verified results from all polling centers across the county.

South Sakwa ward aspirant Susan Rodi accused the party of lack of preparedness, saying the shambolic nominations in the ward is a ploy by the party to deny some aspirants the party ticket just like it did in 2017.

“I suffered the same predicament in 2017 and therefore will not accept the results of this sham exercise, women have perpetually been denied justice by the party,” Rodi complained.

A press statement released by the ODM National Elections Board on Tuesday evening indicated that nominations in Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay counties will be strictly for three positions; Woman Representative, selected parliamentary seats and all MCAS as consensus process was going on to get preferred candidates for the other seats.

“The consensus among aspirants in the remaining counties is ongoing and the agreement will be shared after the finalization of these process. All aspirants and party members in affected counties are advised to prepare to participate and to keep peace during the primaries,” the NEB chair Catherine Mumma said in the statement.

In Siaya county, the nominations were conducted for the position of Woman Representative position and the Bondo, Alego Usonga and Gem parliamentary seats.

According to the party communication, the exercise will then be carried out in Migori and Kisumu counties on Monday April 18 and Tuesday April 19 respectively.

Already the Orange party has handed direct tickets to some aspirants.For instance, Homa Bay Woman representative Gladys Wanga and Siaya senator James Orengo have bagged party certificates to run for governor positions amid protests from some aspirants.

In Rangwe constituency, parliamentary aspirants including Alloice Rodi, William Odaje and Erick Komollo petitioned the party NEB to review its decision not to carry out nominations for the elective seat.

They argued that direct nomination was unpopular in the constituency and is seen as a way of entrenching bad governance and overplaying gender in competitive elections.

According to the politicians, majority of ODM aspirants for the Rangwe parliamentary seat have informally interacted and agreed that the best way to resolve the party’s candidate is through credible nominations by universal suffrage system.

“We submit this petition urging the NEB to proceed with the party primaries by means of universal suffrage by all registered ODM members,” read the petition.

Similarly in Homa Bay, there will only be primaries for woman representative, two parliamentary positions and all MCA seats.  Eight aspirants are seeking to succeed Wanga.

More on Inside Politics