Tribunal nullifies Atandi's win in Alego Usonga ODM primaries

Samuel Atandi

Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi displays his ODM nomination certificate.Political Parties Dispute Tribunal has nullified his nomination and ordered ODM party to conduct fresh nomination in Alego Usonga.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Drama continued in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Siaya primaries after another incumbent, Mr Samuel Atandi, had his nomination for the Alego Usonga Parliamentary seat nullified and fresh elections ordered.

The Political Party Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) ordered the Party’s National Elections Board (NEB) to conduct fresh nomination through universal suffrage within 72 hours of its ruling.

The decision was arrived at after a successful appeal by Mr Atandi’s rival, Dr Nicholas Kut Ochogo, who filed the complaint under certificate of urgency before the tribunal to have the matter heard.

In the matter, Dr Ochogo listed the ODM party and Samuel Atandi as the first and the second respondents respectively.

This was the second petition filed by Mr Ochogo after the incumbent was declared winner in the April 13 nominations.

The first petition was filed at the ODM party tribunal which upheld Mr Atandi’s win.

The bone of contention was the outcome of the Alego Usonga primaries, where Mr Atandi garnered 17,789, trouncing the former University don Dr Ochogo who managed 3,350 votes from the six wards in the constituency.

Nominated MP Professor Jackline Oduol was the third with a total of 542 votes.

However, in a judgment delivered virtually between 7 pm and 8 pm on Sunday, the tribunal annulled Mr Atandi’s win on grounds that the exercise was not free, fair, transparent, accountable and verifiable.

“The exercise violated the constitutional requirement for conducting an election through secret ballot. There was no tallying and announcement of votes at the polling station as required by the Constitution,” said Dr Willy Mutubwa, presiding member of the tribunal.

The courts also found out that the agents never signed results declaration form to verify the accuracy of the said results.

“The denial of Dr Kut's agents to enter into the tallying centre and polling stations and roughing up by supporters of the MP, largely diminished the integrity of the exercise in a manner that the same cannot be sustainable,” said Dr Mutubwa.

When contacted, an elated Dr Ochogo was elated claiming the primaries had been choreographed to favour his opponent.

“I filed a petition and presented prayers that the nomination be nullified. I requested the tribunal to order the NEB to present me with the party certificate because I was duly nominated by the majority. I will wait for the Board to give directions because the tribunal has ruled that the process was shambolic,” said Dr Ochogo when he spoke to the Nation on phone.

The nullification of Alego Usonga nominations is similar to that of Bondo constituency where the tribunal ordered the NEB to conduct fresh nominations after Mr Andiwo Mwai challenged incumbent’s Gideon Ochanda’s win.

In Gem constituency, however, the tribunal directed the Orange party to issue the nomination certificate to the incumbent Elisha Odhiambo.

Should Mr Atandi loose the ticket, he will join his two counterparts Dr Ochanda of Bondo and Mr Odhiambo of Gem, who are still marching in the corridors of justice in such for the ODM ticket after their rivals challenged their win.

The Alego Usonga MP now has the option of challenging the PPDT decision at the High Court or respecting the decision and wait for the party to organize a repeat within 72 hours.

ODM party carried out nominations in Siaya on April 13 through universal suffrage in the position of County Assembly seats, Woman Representative, Gem, Bondo and Alego Usonga constituencies.


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