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Why ODM Party postponed Nairobi polls

ODM Secretary General Agnes Zani (2nd left) chats with party supporters at the party headquarters following the nominations cancellation on April 25, 2017.[DENNIS OKEYO, STANDARD]

It emerged that a rival faction of ODM Nairobi branch instigated the theft of ballot papers leading to the cancellation of the city primaries.

The criminals, it was reported, broke into the party warehouse located along Isiolo Road in Industrial Area a few hours before the nomination exercise started.

The thugs said to be affiliated to a faction within the Nairobi ODM leadership, raided the warehouse and fled with the materials that were to be dispatched to various centres.

The group is said to have been infuriated after the party made a last minute decision on Monday night to change the list of presiding officers who were to referee the exercise.

Sources at Orange House indicated that there were two parallel line ups of presiding officers fronted by the two factions, compelling the party’s National Elections Board to restructure the list.

One group is said to be allied to an influential ODM leader who has already secured his ticket. The other is allied to a parliamentary aspirant who is a former civic leader.

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The intention of the heist was to ensure the polls did not take place as one group felt disadvantaged by its rivals who had dominated the list of the selected poll officials.

Party leader Raila Odinga was chairing a crisis meeting of the Central Management Committee and NEB at a private office in Kilimani with Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and ODM Nairobi branch chairman, George Aladwa, in attendance.

Raila had last week reconstituted the Nairobi County Election Committee to replace one seen as biased.

Police were alerted and rushed to the scene where they confirmed there had been a breach of security.

“There were reports made to the police at Industrial Area of a breach at the party warehouse and we are investigating with a view of taking action,” said Nairobi police boss, Japheth Koome.

ODM acting Secretary General Agnes Zani and ODM Communications Director Philip Etale promised a new date will be set for the city’s primaries.

Dr Zani said logistical challenges and security breach were the reasons for the postponement of the nominations.

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“This is a political situation arising from new political dynamics we wake up to every day, we have to make decisions as we move along,” she said.

 

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