Dirty tricks by aspirants ahead of ODM nominations in Homa Bay

Catherine Mumma

Ms Catherine Mumma, ODM’s elections’ board chairperson, takes oath in 2020. She says the party will conduct secret ballot nominations. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Claims that the ODM party has issued direct certificates to some preferred candidates has elicited mixed reactions in Homa Bay County as some aspirants accuse their opponents of using this narrative to try to gain power unfairly.

Reports are spreading that ODM, led by Raila Odinga, has identified individuals who will benefit from party tickets before the planned primaries are held.

In Homa Bay, a group of politicians are said to have been lined up to collect the tickets, which, in the county, are considered as good as winning in a General Election.

But ODM National Elections Board chairperson Catherine Muma said the party has not given anybody a free ticket in the county.

Ms Muma sought to assure supporters that the party will conduct free and fair nominations, a position party chairman John Mbadi appeared to contradict immediately.

Mr Mbadi stated that ODM will give a direct ticket to a gubernatorial aspirant in the county.

On Wednesday, Mr Mbadi, who withdrew from the race on Monday, said it will be the mandate of NEB to announce the decision.

The Suba South MP, however, told voters in the county who may be aggrieved by the decision to elect candidates of their choice even from other parties.

These conflicting statements are causing confusion among supporters of different politicians, with some aspirants telling their followers to accept the party's decision and move on.

But there are those who still believe the party cannot just dish out certificates.

Rangwe parliamentary aspirant Achuodho Kachuodho told politicians in the county to stop saying that they have the certificates at hand.

He said this is causing panic among supporters of other aspirants and may be used to bangle the nominations.

"Political leaders who are spreading rumours in the region that they had acquired free nomination tickets from the ODM party are lying to the people. Such politicians are tainting the image of Raila Odinga for no reason," he said.

Mr Kachuodho addressed journalists in Rangwe town.

He said the campaign style in the county had changed from politicians selling their policies to telling their voters how they have acquired certificates.

"People are now walking in villages telling voters that they have already been given ODM nomination tickets because they are close to the party leader. Raila is not a petty person who can be associated with such irregularities,” Mr Kachuodho said.

Supporters of different aspirants have also expressed mixed reactions on these claims.

Mr Dan Opande, who supports former county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, and Sinod Okello, who supports Woman Rep Gladys Wanga, said they will accept any decision that the party will take.