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Many ODM supporters won’t vote in primaries after failure to list as members

Only a handful of ODM supporters will take part in the party’s primaries set to start next week after millions of members failed to meet deadlines for membership listing that expired on March 27.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission indicated that no political party managed to register over one million people, raising anxiety ahead of party primaries expected to start next week.

The Registrar of Political Parties Thursday insisted that that only genuinely registered party members duly listed at the registrar’s office will be allowed to participate in party primaries.

About 57 political parties complied with the requirements of the law that demanded that lists be submitted to the commission by March 27.

“The IEBC has already received lists from various parties and they now expect that parties will collect the same lists from them to conduct their primaries,” said Ms Lucy Ndung’u, the registrar.

STRONGHOLDS

Even in ODM strongholds, some constituencies registered very few members raising fears that a substantial number of the population may not have their say in the competitive exercise expected to start next week.

ODM National Elections Board chairperson Judy Pareno said that the party will comply with the law that requires that only registered party members are allowed to vote.

“We will not allow none members to vote as the law requires that only those genuinely registered should be allowed to take part,” said Ms Pareno.

She insisted that the ODM polls will be free and fair, adding that elections officials have been picked and sent to the ground where they will start meeting various aspirants.

ELECTION COMMITTEES

“The party has trained county elections committees and dispatched them to the respective counties in readiness for the exercise,” she said.

ODM Executive Director Oduor Ongwen said that besides using the party’s registers, the voter registration status of each member will be verified using IEBC registers.

“We have over 200,000 members whose names have been expunged from the list because they belong to other parties. On the election day we will also use the IEBC register to verify registration statuses of our members and to ensure they vote at the right polling centres,” Mr Ongwen said.

Gem Constituency with about 70,000 registered voters has about 6,110 people registered as ODM members while Kasipul with 56,000 registered voters has less than 9,000 ODM registered voters.

In Nyatike where over 51,000 people have registered as voters only 4,000 will participate in the ODM nominations.

DIALOGUE

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo described the situation as dire and called for dialogue among political parties to amend the law to allow IEBC registers to be used in primaries.

“This is a major problem. I urge all political parties to come together so as to facilitate an amendment in the law to avoid legal hitches in the primaries,” he said.

Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga warned that that membership issues could cause confusion during the primaries and called on parties to address the matter.

“In Nyanza everyone believes they are ODM members [and] it will be chaos on the election day when some are blocked. Parties should quickly address this matter,” he said.

If non-members participate in primaries, many petitions would be expected which could drag the process, thus forcing parties to face disqualifications, repeat elections or resort to direct nominations.

On Wednesday the ODM Central committee met under the chairmanship of Mr Raila Odiinga to discuss the crisis and to try to figure out a solution.

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