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Raila: We have no preferred aspirant

ODM leader Raila Odinga (centre) arrives at Aga Khan Hall in Mombasa. He was meeting the party’s Coast aspirants for all seats in preparations for the nominations set for next month. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said the party’s hierarchy had no preferred candidates for the August polls and criticised governors pushing for their own lineups.

Raila said all ODM governors intending to defend their seats on August 8 will be subjected to nominations and warned that anyone who causes chaos during the primaries will be disqualified.

“Whenever I go to Nairobi, Kisii, Homa Bay and other counties, I’m told that governors have lineups. Let it be very clear that all governors in ODM will be subjected to a nomination process,” he said.

He said he will also be subjected to a nomination for the NASA ticket and the governors should not expect favours in the ODM nominations likely to start in the next 10 days.

Past mistakes

He said ODM has learnt from its past mistakes where primaries were bungled and unpopular candidate given nomination certificates.

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Earlier, the former Prime Minister met some Wiper leaders in Nyali in what was seen as an effort to end sibling rivalry between ODM and Wiper in Mombasa politics.

Today, Raila will hold a public rally at Tononoka Grounds where he will receive Jomvu MP Badi Twalib who is expected to defect from Wiper Democratic Movement to ODM.

Badi announced on Friday that he has stepped down as Wiper’s assistant organising secretary ahead of today’s defection.

On Saturday, Raila met Kisauni constituency aspirant Ali Mbogo and Mombasa governor aspirant Hezron Awiti’s close ally Jabez Odour. Mbogo and Awiti are both in Wiper and Mbogo confirmed the meeting through the social media, but did not divulge details.

Raila said only governors who have no competitors will be given their nomination certificates next week. He also criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto over what he termed as interference in NASA affairs.

Raila said Jubilee had no business asking why NASA has not agreed on its flag-bearer and exuded confidence that “very soon, Kenyans will see a white smoke”.

“We do not want to impose candidates on our people. I want to promise those who will lose in the nominations that they will be offered jobs once we form a Government,” he said.

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The ODM leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said there were no sacred cows in ODM and promised Coast-based aspirants free and fair nominations.

“Even I will love to pass through a nomination process and I encourage anyone keen to contest for ODM ticket against me to come forward. It will be free and fair,” Joho said.

ODM Secretary General Agnes Zani dismissed reports that there are candidates who have already been given nomination certificates.

“We do not even know the colour of those certificates. It is only the ODM Elections Board that will issue the certificates, not even the party leader or deputy party leader,” Dr Zani said.

Judy Pareno, ODM Elections Board chairperson revealed that the party had by close of business on Saturday received 5,000 applications for various seats across the country.

In Mombasa, Joho said over 400 candidates have submitted their applications and promised that women and youth aspirants will be protected.

Raila said the party will protect vulnerable aspirants from intimidation, attacks or harassment by their competitors.

“It is clear that any party which mishandles its nomination process at the grassroots is bound to fail at national politics,” Raila said.

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