Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Tuesday, 25 Apr 2017 16:07 EAT
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) promised today that its nomination certificates will be issued to the winners only after all disputes arising from its primaries are fully resolved. Secretary General Agnes Zani also said most counties have completed the primaries well, and only a few contested positions will be resolved before aspirants are issued with certificates on May 3 at the Bomas of Kenya.
Speaking to supporters of Taita Taveta governor John Mruttu who had camped at the party's headquarters to demand that their boss be issued with a certificate after last week's inconclusive primaries, Dr Zani launched a mediation process and asked Mr Mruttu and his main challenger Thomas Mwadeghu to appoint five people each to discuss the way forward.
"Staying here will not yield any result, we need to sit down and have a way of addressing issues in our party. Let every camp nominate five people each and find a solution but in the interim we must be patient as the party solves the issues," she said, even as the party's National Elections Board plunged supporters from Homa Bay and Migori counties in new crises after two gubenatorial were controversially declared winners.
In Homa Bay, returning officer Erastus Otieno declared incumbent governor Cyprian Awiti the winner without any documentation, saying he had "the power to announce whatever results I have." He declared Mr Awiti the winner with 46,343 votes, and said Awiti's main opponent Joseph Magwanga had received 14,661 votes and the third candidate Samuel Wakiaga 2,087.
In the senatorial race, he said incumbent Moses Kajwang had won the nomination with 1,948. Incidentally, Mr Kajwang had won 3,190 votes from Mbita Constituency alone. Asked by journalists why he was not releasing all results that had been declared at the constituencies, Mr Otieno the RO said he didn't have to explain his results; his work is to announce results, he said.
Tellingly, he was guarded while making the announcement by Homa Bay County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe and other officials from the county government and heavily-armed police officers who immediately began to throw out journalists from the room as soon as he finished his address. Riots ensued and two people were reported dead.
In Migori, leading gubernatorial aspirants Okoth Obado (who is the incumbent governor) and Ochilo Ayako were both declared winners. Mr Obado was declared the winner and issued with an interim nomination certificate by the Migori County returning officer while Mr Ayako was later declared winner by County Elections Board chairman.
At the Orange House today, supporters of Governor Mruttu were demanding the ODM ticket, replaying an act by Mr Mwadeghu's supporters who stormed the house yesterday to demand the same. Mr Mwadeghu had a huge win over Mr Mruttu but ODM refrained from confirming his win allegedly because voters from some five polling stations had not casted their ballots. The stations are yet to vote since the governor went to court to stop the process.
Given the conflicting claims, the police have deployed a heavily-armed contingent at Orange House to maintain law and order. Perhaps in anticipation of further demands from the headquarters, the party has moved its team handling the nomination disputes to the Bomas of Kenya, which is more heavily-guarded by the police.
Mr Mwadeghu had vowed not to take part in repeat elections, seeing it as a tactic by the party to delay the resolution of his grievances. Yesterday, he told journalists that ODM disputes resolution tribunal was sitting on his claim. He expressed fear that Taita Taveta should not the "Busia way" where governor Sospeter Ojaamong ended up being the ODM candidate despite being seen as losing to his opponent Dr Paul Otuoma in the primaries.
Like Mr Ojaamong, Governor Mruttu is a close ally of ODM leader Raila Odinga, hence the fear that the party would be pushing his candidature. The same case applies in Migori, where Mr Obado is perceived as being close to the Jubilee administration, having won on a minority ticket after being rigged out of the ODM primaries in 2013 elections.
Addressing the press in Homa Bay this morning, Mr Magwanga's chief agent also invoked the 'Busia doctrine' whereby the party makes a controversial call in favour of a governor and let the result stay, with only rhetorical promises to review the process. "We don't an Ojaamong-style victory in Homa Bay," said Mr Lamech Okeyo.
The party has promised to review the Migori and Homa Bay results even though many party supporters don't expect much to come out of the review. From social media debates, the ODM flawed results have also dispirited many party supporters who see the institution as having two standards for free and fair elections: a higher one for national presidential elections that have usually gone against Mr Odinga, and a lax one for internal polls which guarantees the party bosses candidates of their choice, irrespective of the people's wishes.