Rivals claim plot to give Raila ex-aide Caroli Omondi direct ODM ticket

 Caroli Omondi

 Caroli Omondi at a past campaign rally in Homa Bay Town 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Aspirants and some supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have threatened to seek legal redress over an alleged scheme to award a former aide of party leader Raila Odinga a direct ticket to contest the Suba South parliamentary seat.

In a petition to ODM’s National Elections Board (NEB), three voters described the clearance of Caroli Omondi to participate in planned party primaries as “illegal” and “irregular” and meant to infringe the rights of residents to elect a leader of their choice.

Mr Ogolla Henry Omolla, Michael Otieno and Joash Osodo, demanded that Mr Omondi, who worked in the defunct office of the prime minister, be disqualified.

“The elections board should publish or proclaim the disqualification of Mr Caroli Omondi from participating in the forthcoming ODM party primaries for Member of Parliament within 48 hours from the date of this letter,” said the letter dated April 4.

They described Mr Omondi as a stranger to the party after he ditched it in the last General Election upon losing the party primaries to the current MP John Mbadi.

“(On) February 6, 2022, Mr Caroli Omondi publicly made a vow that he will not rejoin ODM upon request by the national chairman,” the trio said in a petition filed by Viola and Onyango Company Advocates.

They pointed out that Mr Omondi did not abide by ODM’s March 16 deadline for aspirants contesting elective positions, including MP, to apply and pay nominations fees.

“On March 16, 2022, our clients visited the party’s NEB offices located along Banda Lane, off Magadi Road and were advised upon making inquiries that only eight candidates had submitted their applications to contest,” they said.

The listed aspirants were Kennedy Omollo, Tom Orwa Kituka, Stephen Sangira, Julius Opala, Maren Achieng, Lucy Achieng, Evance Marieba and John Angili.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Caroli Omondi was not in that list as at the deadline of March 16, 2022,” said their statement to NEB chairperson Catherine Muma.

Mr Sangira stressed that the party’s regulations should be binding on all aspirants.

“He must have been a member of the party for at least six months before the date of the primaries. The only exclusion is where the National Executive Committee, via a resolution, excuses one from this requirement, which does not apply in the case of Mr Omondi,” he said.

Mr Kituka and Mr Opala also asked the party to allow free and fair nominations.

For his part, Mr Marieba, the outgoing MCA for Gwassi North ward, urged the party to let supporters freely choose who will lead them for the next five years.

“He (Mr Omondi) has been bandying around some opinion polls alleging that he is popular on the ground, yet he has visited the constituency less than three times after he was defeated in the last polls,” he said.