The political life of 16 Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders hangs in the balance after the party’s disciplinary committee signalled that it will bar aspirants implicated in violence.
The party’s Disciplinary Committee chaired Fred Athuok which sat for more than 12 hours yesterday will today announce its verdict.
Its report will be hand over to the Central Management Committee (CMC) for action on perpetrators of violence that occurred in Migori, Busia, Ruaraka and Mathare.
“Any person found culpable, very stern disciplinary action will be taken including suspension, expulsion, reprimanding and fine,” said Athuok.
Those summoned for grilling include deputy party leader Hassan Joho, governors Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Okoth Obado (Migori), nominated senator Elizabeth Ongoro and Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang.
Others are Senator James Orengo (Siaya), Junet Mohamed (Suna East MP), Migori gubernatorial aspirant Ochillo Ayako, Mathare parliamentary hopeful Anthony Oluoch, his Suna East counterpart John Pesa and two MCAs from Ruaraka and Mathare constituencies.
The political bigwigs were accused of fanning violence in various parts on diverse dates. If found guilty, they will face serious sanctions including being struck off the nomination list.
Joho said the party will not hesitate to take action against anyone found guilty of taking part in the Migori violence where his bodyguard was shot and his car shot at.
“The committee must be seen to take firm action on anybody found to have engaged in any form of violence. I initiated this process and I am happy to appear before the committee,” said Joho.
Ongoro, who was the first one to face the Fred Athuok committee at Mash Park Hotel, said she is a victim of campaign violence.
“Attacking party officials is unacceptable. I am a victim and I don’t want the party to victimise victims,” Ongoro said after an hour of grilling.
On the accusation that she stormed Orange House with hired goons who roughed up Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen, she denied adding that she had gone to present a reply letter.
The party had written to her asking her if she could consider withdrawing her candidature for the Ruaraka parliamentary seat and consider vying for the woman representative seat.
Nairobi businesswoman Esther Passaris has since taken up the challenge on an ODM ticket. However, Passaris will battle for it among other aspirants who also submitted their application for the same.
“I had a complaint letter but I blame other aspirants who had hired goons. When I arrived, there were other aspirants who had issues with the nomination lists,” she said.
Over the violence that happened in Ruaraka which claimed the lives of two people after her supporters clashed with those of her rival Kajwang’, Ongoro claimed she was attacked by people she believed were sent by her opponents.
“I had a meeting with some women when I was attacked by goons. I believe they were sent by my rivals. I am a victim,” she said.
But in a quick rejoinder after the grilling, Kajwang fired a salvo at the ODM deputy secretary general accusing her of using the gender card to intimidate opponents and play victim yet she was the perpetrator.
Obado blamed his opponents for the violence that rocked a rally in Migori that saw gunshots fired and a bodyguard attached toJoho injured.
“I have never engaged in any violence. I don’t support any form of violence. I was arriving at the rally when supporters of my opponent started pelting stones at the podium,” he said.
He was, however, categorical that party officials should not hold rallies to endorse certain candidates.
“The party leader or the deputy party leader or whoever is free to visit as long as they don’t come to endorse some people. They are our fathers in the party and must embrace all,” he said.
He added: “I am an ODM member, I am here to stay in ODM because this is my number one party.”