ODM sued over bungled nominations in Bondo

Catherine Mumma

ODM elections board chairperson Catherine Mumma.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

ODM Bondo parliamentary aspirant Mr Andiwo Mwai has sued the party’s National Elections Board (NEB) for failing to comply with orders of the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) to conduct fresh nominations through universal suffrage.

In a case filed under certificate of urgency before the PPDT, Mr Mwai, through his lawyer, said the ODM NEB chairperson Ms Catherine Mumma was in contempt of the orders issued by the PPDT.

Mr Mwai, who filed the petition on Friday, has named the ODM NEB, the Returning Officer Bondo constituency and the incumbent area MP Dr Gideon Ochanda as respondents.

The ODM party is expected to appear as an interested party in the proceedings.

The legal standoff in Bondo constituency, which is ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s backyard, has hitherto paralyzed campaigns by the party in the region.

“The honourable Tribunal issued orders on 28th April 2022 and 5th May 2022 directing the first and the second respondents and the interested party to conduct repeat primaries elections for Bondo constituency on or before 8th May. Instead the NEB has sent the name of Dr Ochanda to the IEBC and is set to present his nomination papers on May 30th,” read part of the petition.

It went on: “The NEB and the Bondo Constituency Returning Officer have blatantly disobeyed the said orders and to date no repeat elections have been conducted as ordered by the tribunal. It is imperative that the application be heard and determined urgently in view of the disclosed facts.”

The case is set for hearing today before the PPDT presiding Judge Wilfred Mutubwa virtually.

ODM had earlier filed a petition before the High Court requesting to be granted a leeway to use an alternative method to pick the parliamentary candidate ahead of the August polls other than the universal suffrage

In a petition, the Orange party cited lack of adequate resources and limited time in conducting the repeat process.

The High Court dismissed the petition and directed the NEB to conduct the repeat polls as directed by the PPDT.

Dr Ochanda was declared winner in the party primaries held on April 13 by garnering 10,771 votes against Mr Mwai who garnered 4, 967 votes.

Mr Mwai unsuccessfully challenged the outcome of the nominations before the ODM appeals tribunal and Dr Ochanda’s victory was upheld but his nomination has been dogged by endless legal battles.

Bondo Constituency may pull a repeat of what happened in Gem constituency in 1997 when the then Raila-led NDP party was time barred in fielding a candidate because of the legal battles.

Three constituencies in Siaya County - Alego Usonga, Gem and Bondo - have experienced long court battles since the conclusion of the ODM party primaries on April 13.

The long drawn court battles have given the fringe parties and independent candidates an opportunity to make inroads in the county.

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