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Why Kisumu, Siaya primaries were postponed

Insecurity and delays in delivery of voting materials have been blamed for the postponement of nominations in Kisumu and Siaya counties.

The cancellation of voting in Kisumu was also blamed on lack of a county elections board following the disbandment of the current one by the political parties tribunal.

The primaries were postponed evan as Nyanza regional police boss Willy Lugusa assured residents that there was adequate security to oversee the voting process in Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay counties.

In a statement on Sunday, ODM National Elections Board chairperson Judith Pareno said the voting will be held on Tuesday, depending on the improvement of the security situation.

“The national elections board has assessed the security situation in Kisumu and observed that the planned primaries scheduled for Monday April 24 in the county cannot proceed as scheduled,” Ms Pareno said.

CONFUSION

There was confusion in Kisumu over the last minute cancellation.

Governor Jack Ranguma said he was not aware no the cancellation and asked residents to go to their respective polling stations to vote.

“I have not received any official communication from the National Elections Board and therefore am treating the cancellation as rumors. Kisumu residents should wake up in large numbers and vote in their preferred candidate,” said Mr Ranguma.

Initially, Kisumu county nominations were scheduled for April 13, it was pushed to April 24 and again to April 25.

By close of the day on Sunday, it was not clear if a new board had been constituted.

Mr Tom Okong’o, the Kisumu County ODM returning officer said voting could not go on due to the confusion that might arise from the disbandment of the county boards.

COSTLY

The last minute cancellation was however opposed by aspirants, who accused the national elections board of making partisan decisions.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, Gideo Ochanda of Bondo and Omondi Muluan of Alego-Usonga said the postponement was a demonstration of a lack of preparedness by the party.

“The party wants to attempt what it did in Busia. Unfortunately, they are looking for a formula that will not work,” said Mr Midiwo.

Rarieda MP and Siaya governorship aspirant Nicholas Gumbo said the postponement will “be very costly to ODM in the long run.”

Both Kisumu and Siaya counties, considered the bedrock of ODM politics, have some of the highest number of registered voters, a situation that could have informed the party’s decision.

According to statistics by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kisumu County has 385,820 registered voters with Siaya at 311,919 voters.

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