Post-nomination row jolts ODM in Ndhiwa
By Kepher Otieno, Posted: Sep 09, 2012
Stunned by protests from aspirants who lost in the Ndhiwa parliamentary by-election nomination, ODM has reached out to the dissenting voices in a bid to reclaim the parliamentary seat.
The Standard On Sunday established party officials prevailed upon party leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to persuade the aspirants to back party candidate Neto Oyugi, whose nomination had been contested.
The aspirants had threatened to switch their support to Kanu candidate Tom Alila to teach the party a lesson.
But upon sensing discontent, Raila agreed to meet the aspirants in Kisumu last week although a number of them snubbed the talks, saying the move was too little too late.
Raila was reportedly unhappy with the manner the Ndhiwa nomination was conducted, but assured them ODM cherished democracy.
“The first thing you have to do is to find out what the problem is, and this is why we agreed to discuss the way forward,” Raila said.
He reportedly told Neto to reach out to his rivals by all means and agree to work out a winning formula so that the party does not lose its grassroots strength. The seat fell vacant following the death of former Internal Security Assistant minister Orwa Ojode in a chopper crash on June 10 in Ngong.
According to one of the aspirants Monica Amollo, ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o and former National Elections Board chairman Philip Okundi and his team were blamed for nomination anomalies in Ndhiwa. Amollo, who is ODM Nyanza co-ordinator and Homa Bay County Treasurer, claimed polls officials who supervised the nominations had ‘an ulterior motive’ to bring down the party or antagonise it with voters.
Aspirants David Ojwang’, Michael Agwanda, Beatrice Ogola, and Oyugi Onduru said they would support?Neto. They said they would not allow anti-Raila forces to use the opportunity to discredit ODM.
“I admit that the nomination was not to our expectations. But like a football match, whoever does not concede defeat is not a player,”Amolo said at a press conference in Homa Bay.
But Jeremiah Orero, an aspirant who kept off the meeting, said he was not sure it was called by the PM or his henchmen.
“I am disappointed. I don’t even want to recall what happened. That process was a sham,” Orero said.
Kale said the meeting was late, coming when his supporters had resolved to back Alila. “My supporters are with the Kanu candidate. They have told me so and I don’t want to change their wish,” he said.
Omamo also held the same theory. “We are standing by Kanu. Let ODM stop wasting time looking for us,” he said. Ojode’s widow, Mary, did not attend the meeting.
During the Kisumu meeting with the PM, Kisumu Town West MP Olago- Aluoch lashed out at aspirants, who boycotted the meeting, saying they did not mean well for ODM.
Meanwhile, Kanu’s Alila has vowed to make sure he reaps big from ODM’s political woes in the constituency.
The National Alliance (TNA) candidate Rosemary Rumo has also not been left out as campaigns intensify ahead of the September 17 by-election.
“I don’t know why they are wishing a women candidate aside. I’m also banking on support of women small-scale traders, who need to be empowered,” said Rumo.
She is expecting TNA presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta to lead campaigns in the area to boost her stakes.
Ndhiwa constituency is in Homa Bay County, which is one of six counties in Nyanza Province.
Ndhiwa has historically been an opposition stronghold. In 1992 and 1997 elections, Ford-Kenya and the defunct National Development Party won the parliamentary seat.
Source: Standard Digital
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