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How ODM primaries officials messed Nyanza polls

Returning officers in Nyanza for ODM primaries may have played a role in the confusion witnessed in most polling stations across the region.

In Kisumu, the county returning officer Tom Okong’o made tallying centre a top secret only for him to rush to Thurdibuoro Secondary School where he announced results as some polling stations were still counting votes.

Aspirants and journalists were kept in the dark and had to move from one centre to another looking for the tallying centre.

Immediately after Mr Okongo declared Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o winner in the gubernatorial race, Richard Kiyondo, the county deputy returning officer also announced Governor Jack Ranguma as the winner while at a different tallying centre.

1 How ODM primaries officials messed Nyanza polls

Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o casts his vote at Ratta Primary School in Seme in the ODM primaries for Kisumu County on April 25, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Prof Nyong’o was declared winner by Mr Okongo with 164, 110 votes against Mr Ranguma’s 91,480 votes. Dr Hezron McObewa was announced third with 62, 670 votes.

Mr Kiyondo declared Mr Ranguma winner with 118, 934 votes against Dr McObewa’s 47, 930. Professor Nyong’o came in third with 32,028 votes followed by Gordon Oyumba who garnered 14, 290 votes, Isaka Nyangara was fifth with 11, 936 votes.

After the two announcements were made, Kisumu residents were left confused who will legitimately carry the ODM flag in August polls.

Others questioned whose authority should be trusted. That of the county returning officer or his deputy.

4 How ODM primaries officials messed Nyanza polls

Youths light bonfires on the streets of Kisumu town on April 26, 2017 following dispute ODM primaries results. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION

The returning officers at disappeared only to emerge with the results which they read under tight security.

Mr Okongo for better of the day was nowhere to be seen and was not picking calls from journalists.

In Kisumu Central constituency, as early as 5am in the morning in all the wards, Fred Ouda who is the MCA Gem Central was leading followed by Onyango Oloo and sitting MP Ken Obura was third.

At about 7am, tallying was stopped and short text messages were circulating claiming that the returning officer Laban Bosire had been kidnapped.

Few minutes to 8am, Kisumu Central returning officer Mr Bosire turned up guarded by security officers. He declared Mr Obura as the winner and was immediately escorted out by the same officers.

2 How ODM primaries officials messed Nyanza polls

Kisumu residents took to the streets to denounce move to announce Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura as the winner in the ODM primaries on April 26,2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The pronouncement of Mr Obura as the ODM nominee for the seat in the August elections sparked tension with Mr Ouda’s supporters going to the streets chanting his praises.

They protested Mr Obura’s alleged victory.

In Muhoroni consistency there were parallel tallying centers.

In Seme, the returning officer could not be traced and there was no one to announce the results.

In Homa Bay, returning officer Erastus Otieno could not explain the origin of the results after noting that he could not reach most poll officials across the county.

He explained that he had authority to announce whatever results he had which sparked violent protests in the town.

He declared Governor Cyprian Awiti the winner with 46,343 votes against Mr Oyugi Magwanga’s 14,661.

3 How ODM primaries officials messed Nyanza polls

Kisumu residents took to the streets to denounce move to announce Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura as the winner in the ODM primaries on April 26,2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Flanked by Homa Bay County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe and top county officials, the returning officer was accorded heavy security by armed police officers who ejected journalists from the tallying centre as soon as the results were announced.

The poll official could not declare what each candidate got at the constituency level, saying that presiding officers had refused to give him the results.

The results were protested by agents of other candidates who argued that they did not reflect the true picture on the ground and were a sham.

Mr Magwanga’s chief agent at the hall Mr Lameck Okeyo Omollo rejected the results.

After the announcement, contingent of armed security officials began driving journalists and agents of other officials out of the tallying centre.

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