Anxiety and tension have gripped Nyanza barely three weeks to the Orange party primaries. This followed allegations of plans to rig the polls as aspirants spend sleepless nights mobilising voters ahead of the exercise.
It has emerged that many aspirants have been flocking to the party headquarters to get lists of returning officers and nomination logistics – information which the party has kept under lock and key to avoid lobbying.
The forthcoming primaries has generated heat with aspirants exchanging bitter words over allegations of violence and alleged recruitment of poll clerks to help them win the nominations.
Role of referee
In Homa Bay, police arrested four youths over the spate of violence that has rocked the county in the past week.
Last week, several youths sustained injuries after supporters of Governor Cyprian Awiti and those of his opponent, Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, fought in Kendu Bay.
County Police Commandant John Omusanga said the four will be charged soon. Mr Magwanga said political temperature is rising in the county, and warned aspirants inciting their supporters against opponents that they would be arrested.
Speaking during a campaign rally in Kibos where he met members of the Nubian community, Governor Jack Ranguma said he had intelligence reports that rigging of the nominations was underway.
“I have information that some people have been going round to select people who will be manning the elections and I want to castigate these actions. They are players in this game and must not pretend to be playing the role of the referee,” said Mr Ranguma.
The governor promised to lodge a formal complaint with the party’s electoral board to have the matter sorted out to avoid compromising primaries.
“The two have been boasting all over that they already have the party’s nomination certificate and claiming they are more of ODM than other candidates,” he added.
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o and MP Fred Outa (Nyando) have already formed a joint campaign camp in which the senator will face off with Ranguma in the governor’s seat race, while Outa, who has served two terms, will jump to the senate race.
The governor said ODM party leader Raila Odinga has repeatedly indicated that nobody will have a direct access to the party certificate without passing through a free and fair nomination.
Opinon: Let’s be bold and embrace change
“As aspirants, we have taken conscious efforts to ensure we have peaceful, free and fair nominations.We must all stay away from the nominations processes because we all have interests. This process must be independent,” said Ranguma.
“The county has more than 700 polling stations and as an aspirant, I must have an agent in each of the stations. If someone thinks he will earn sympathy through outrageous rigging claims, then he better opt out of the race,” added Outa.
In Suba Constituency, the battle for the ODM ticket between party chairman John Mbadi and Raila’s former Chief of Staff has sucked in the family of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, with Suba Council of elders accusing nominated MP Oburu Oginga of imposing Mr Mbadi on them.
Raila has, however, said all the aspirants were on their own and that no one will be favoured, including those perceived to be his close allies.
Story written by Scophine Otieno, Kevin Omolo, Harold Odhiambo.