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Drama as governor and rival declared winners

Residents take to the streets after the announcement that Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti was the winner of the ODM nominations. [Photo:Boniface Okendo, Standard]

There was drama in Migori County when Governor Okoth Obado and his rival Ochillo Ayacko were both declared winners of the ODM nominations in the governor’s race.

Mr Obado had been declared the winner by returning officer Samson Olala before another returning officer, Tom Otike, declared Ayacko the winner later in the day.

Mr Otike had abandoned the exercise at dawn for unexplained reasons. Mr Olala would later take over.

Olala said the National Elections Board picked him for the position at the eleventh hour.

According to him, Obado won by 110,142 votes against his fiercest opponent Ayacko, a former Cabinet minister, who managed 59,449 votes.

Parallel results

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However, Otike later emerged and released parallel results, showing Ayacko had beaten Obado by 110,350 against 68,000 votes.

Otike went ahead to present Ayacko with a provisional certificate. He would later award a certificate to senatorial aspirant Gordon Ogola, who reportedly lost to journalist Oluoch Okello.

And in Homa Bay County, Governor Cyprian Awiti elbowed his way through treacherous ODM primaries in chaotic polls that lasted more than 24 hours.

He was declared the winner with 46,346 votes against outgoing Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga’s 14,661.

The win pushes Mr Awiti closer to defending his seat on August 8. However, the victory sparked outrage and plunged the county into day-long street protests.

It was not immediately clear what will happen in Migori following the declaration of two winners of the ODM ticket.

Obado’s campaigns have been dogged by misfortune. He was recently fined Sh2 million for violence in his county and his opponents have labelled him a Jubilee mole.

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When the results for the two counties were initially announced, both Ayacko and Magwanga immediately rejected them, terming them “cooked and unrealistic”.

Ann Anyanga, the only woman in the Migori race, finished a distant third with 1,990 votes.

Meanwhile, outgoing Woman Representative and former Standard journalist Dennitah Ghati lost to Pamela Ochieng’ who got 72,690 votes against Ms Ghati’s 49,179.

Security scare

There was a security scare when Ayacko, who is also a former Rongo MP, stormed the tallying centre at the Migori Teachers Training College and tried to serve Olala with an order from the ODM elections tribunal stopping him from declaring other results.

But Olala, a former provincial administrator, ignored him and continued to announce the winners.

The Migori polls climaxed with the arrest of an aspirant, John Walter Owino, who had just won the Awendo parliamentary seat ticket. He beat the incumbent, Jared Kopiyo, with over 10,000 votes.

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Mr Owino was arrested soon after he was awarded the certificate after he was allegedly found trying to manipulate governorship race results at a hotel. He was arrested alongside the returning officer, Martin Rege, who had just awarded him the certificate.

Police stormed the hotel and saved the two from being lynched before arresting them. They had not been released by 1pm.

Returning officer

There had been tension after Otike, the county returning officer, took off under heavy security at dawn yesterday. This was after he reportedly clashed bitterly with Obado.

He had been presiding over the nominations since Monday.

Obado and Ochilo kept vigil from Monday night all through to yesterday morning, when all hell broke loose.

At around 4am, Otike refused to announce the few results he had received, claiming he was waiting for results from the entire county.

Tension remained high as results for the parliamentary seats from seven out of the eight constituencies had not been announced. No one appeared to know where the ballot papers were.

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Save for Suna East, where incumbent Junet Mohammed had defeated his only opponent and predecessor John Pesa with 14,900 against 800 votes, there was no word from other constituencies.

Former Radio Ramogi broadcaster Ben Okello won the Senate ticket after polling 68,194 votes to floor former Migori County Assembly Speaker Gord Ogola, who got 28,692. Michael Otieno had 24,997.

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