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Battle of titans in Taita Taveta as Mruttu, Mwadeghu seek ODM ticket

It will be a battle of the titans as Governor John Mruttu and Wundanyi MP MP Thomas Mwadeghu square it out for the Taita Taveta ODM gubernatorial seat ticket in the party primaries Tuesday.

Mr Mruttu is the vice-chairman of the Council of Governors while Mr Mwadeghu is the ODM chief whip.

Both Mr Mruttu and Mr Mwadeghu have been key ODM campaigners at the Coast and hail from the Taveta and Taita communities respectively.

Mr Mwadeghu backed Mr Mruttu in the 2013 elections.

On sunday, the distribution of election materials in Taita Taveta was delayed when Mr Mruttu’s supporters disrupted the training of clerks saying they were not representative.

Mr Mruttu said he will seek other options if the ODM National Elections Board fails to address his grievances against Mr Mwadeghu whom he said is being favoured.

Addressing a political rally at Voi stage, the governor swore he will not participate in the nominations if he is not assured of a free and fair election.

COMPLAINTS

“I lodged my complaints on Tuesday last week but up to now I have not received any feedback from the party. I urge you to prepare yourself for any outcome,” he told Voi residents.

Earlier, rowdy youths had disrupted a training for ODM clerks at Mwatate CDF Hall saying their selection had been done secretly.

The youths stopped the training and broke chairs in the hall.

Governor Mruttu also ordered his political advisor, Mr Godfrey Kimonge, to ensure that ballot boxes which were to be distributed to various polling stations across the county do not leave the hall.

“I cannot get into an exercise which has already been determined. We must know the way forward today or else my options are still open,” he said.

BALLOT PAPERS

Mr Mruttu accused the Wundanyi MP of printing his ballot papers and courting an election board member.

He also accused Mr Mwadeghu of playing tribal politics.

“My opponent has been moving across the county saying that once he is elected he will ensure that some people leave this county. I urge you to shun such politics,” he said.

He urged residents to maintain peace during the nominations on Tuesday.

However, Mr Mwadeghu denied that the county elections board is composed of his supporters.

He blamed the governor for the violence meted on clerks and election officers at Mwatate CDF Hall saying it was a sign of panic after Mr Mruttu “realised he is going home”.

“The governor is scared stiff. Why does he ask his supporters to block the clerks and ballot boxes from leaving the hall to polling stations?” he asked.

He was speaking at the Taveta Police Station where he went to ask police officers to ensure the process went on smoothly without anyone being injured.

“I came to the police station to ask them to ensure peace. At the hall, all people are Mruttu’s supporters and if I go there, there will be chaos which I don’t want,” he said.

He said that Mr Mruttu had fought to get a direct ticket but party leader Raila Odinga had made it clear that there would be no preferred candidate.

“I applied to vie and that’s when he got really scared. Now, he has sensed defeat but I don’t want violence, let the people decide,” he said.

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