April 26th 2017

Top Stories / National

Raila on the spot in Busia as Otuoma rejects repeat elections

The MP's position will put ODM leader Raila Odinga on a tight spot to make a decision on the Busia governorship. While the nomination process is conducted by the party's Elections Board, which called for the repeat elections, the Board is an organ subservient to the party's leadership.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 14 Apr 2017 17:44 EAT

Mr Otuoma's supporters demonstrated in Busia streets after the Board's announcement that Ojaamong had won the nomination.

Funyula MP Paul Otuoma has rejected a proposed repeat election to nominate the Busia governorship candidate, saying he won the exercise that was conducted yesterday and should be handed the certificate. "Dr Otwoma will not participate in the proposed repeat of ODM nominations. Otwoma won full and square. You can't repeat an election that you won," said a statement from the MP's campaign team.

The statement held that "Dr Otuoma did not participate in vote thieving. The two contested constituencies are homeground to Ojaamong. Its figures for Ojaamong that are being questioned. Dr Otuoma didn't participate in election malpractice to award him with a vote repeat. Let the two constituencies' anomalies be corrected and the certificate handed to the rightful winner - Otuoma".

According to the MP's team, "The proposed date for nomination repeat is scheduled on 25th. The deadline for party nominees submission to IEBC is 28th. This set date is a trap. Dr Otuoma ain't a fool."

The MP convincingly beat the governor until the last minutes to the announcement of the results, when the board claimed Ojaamong had emerged the winner with 92,358 votes against Otuoma's 63,752 votes. Three quarters of Ojaamong's votes were from two constituencies, Teso North and Teso South, whose results were delayed at the last minute.

In a classic case of President Kibaki's last minute win against ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2007, the turnout in the two constituencies was hovering around 100 percent, indicating massive voter fraud. Turnout in the rest of the constituencies was about 50 percent. 

The MP's rejection of repeat elections will put Mr Odinga on a tight spot to make a decision on the Busia governorship. While the nomination process is conducted by the party's Elections Board, which called for the repeat elections, the Board is an organ subservient to the party's leadership.

Governor Ojaamong, who served as a personal assistant to Mr Odinga before his election to parliament and later as governor, is reputed as being very close to his former boss. On April 2, this paper reported him saying he would accept a transparent nomination process if he lost to Mr Otuoma, expressing hope that he took other assignments including being Mr Odinga's advisor.

"I am ready to support him if he wins and likewise I expect him to do the same if I floor him. ODM is my party. There are many opportunities one can take including being advisor to the party leader Raila Odinga. It is also not true that I have the backing of the party leader. I am mature to defend myself," he had said.

With Mr Otuoma rejecting repeat polls, the Board's decision-making will be curtailed, and theoretically it could hand governor Sospeter Ojaamong a direct ticket on the basis that there will be no opponent to face him. However, such a situation would significantly affect not only the credibility of the result but ODM's electoral chances in Busia County, a vote-rich county in 2017 elections.

While Mr Odinga enjoys massive support in Busia, bungled ODM nominations in 2013 led to the party winning less than half of the parliamentary seats in the region. Four former ODM leaders who won the party's nominations only to be short-changed defected to other parties and carried the day in the general election. ODM won only three seats.

The senate and women representative positions were also won by ODM, there having been no contention in their nomination process.

Below is a list of yesterday's winners for constituency seats:

1. Budalangi - Raphael Wanjala

2. Funyula - Oundo Mudenyo

3. Nambale - Geoffrey Mulanya

4. Teso South - Geoffrey Omuse

5. Teso North - Lawi Mamai

6. Matayos - Geoffrey Odanga

7. Butula - Joseph Oyula

Women representative Florence Mutua won the nomination for her re-election.

Senator Amos Wako has handed direct nomination after no candidate opposed him.

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