October 19th 2017

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Homa Bay aspirants reject ODM election panels, violence feared

Unconfirmed reports is intimating that some initial deposit of Sh10 million has exchanged hands in the ratification of the elections panelists as a scheme to influence nomination outcome. When contacted, Dr Arunga said he was in a meeting and could not talk promising to do so later.

By Samuel OwidaSaturday, 08 Apr 2017 11:40 EAT

Homa Bay has witnessed several instances of violence in recent years. In this photo, rival youths clashed at a voter registration session in Homa Bay Town in early 2016.

Two gubernatorial and several parliamentary aspirants from two constituencies in Homa Bay County have rejected the ODM party elections panels for allegedly taking sides with other aspirants and Governor Cyprian Awiti’s line-ups ahead of April 19 nominations. The party hopefuls from Kabondo Kasipul and Mbita constituencies want the ODM National Elections Board (NEB) to disband the panels them ahead of the party primaries or else they will make the process ungovernable.

Another gubernatorial aspirant Oyugi Magwanga dismissed the panelists as an extension of Mr Awiti’s office, saying no meaningful party primaries will take place across the county with the said panelists at the helm. And Jeremiah Owiti, who is the running mate for governorship aspirant Sam Wakiaga, described the list as being comprised of acolytes of Mr Awiti's meant to rig the process in favour of the incumbent, and challenged the party’s elections board to come clean on the matter and resolve it as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Kabondo Kaispul parliamentary aspirants Obonyo Mireri, Paddy Ahenda, Jared Alila and David Onunda took issue with Orange House for appointing campaign allies of the sitting MP Silvance Osele to preside over the nomination, setting the stage for what they called "outright rigging in broad daylight".

“This is a serious matter. In our case for Kabondo Kasipul, known Osele allies have been appointed as elections committee members yet this is a process that calls for neutrality. We can’t accept it at all costs, “said Mr Mireri.

Speaking to journalists at Oriang’ Market yesterday, the four aspirants said they cannot allow Peter Mola, Jairus Muga and Phoebe Opiyo to man nominations in the constituency on April 19, saying the trio are officers working in the office of the sitting MP thus can’t be referees at the same time.

They took issue with Dr Bob Arunga, who is the secretary to ODM’s National Elections Board for taking them for a ride while engaging in other underhand deals with Awiti camp to give him free ride to secure the certificates. 

They claimed the constituency residents have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the panel and called party NEB to change it to avert chaos which may occur. “There is danger in this panel and we’re requesting party leader Raila Odinga to intervene in this matter,” Mr Onunda said.

Unconfirmed reports is intimating that some initial deposit of Sh10 million has exchanged hands in the ratification of the elections panelists as a scheme to influence nomination outcome. When contacted, Dr Arunga said he was in a meeting and could not talk promising to do so later.

In Mbita, aspirants Judy Kamaria and Humphrey Obatch asked the NEB to dissolve the panel and reconstitute it afresh if the party means well and respects the people of Mbita, adding that a crisis is looming large and violence is building up. “We are not ready to go for nominations with this panel. We want the NEB to reconstitute another panel by considering views of all players in this race,” Ms Kamaria said.

The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Homa Bay County





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