NOMINATIONS PARTY REASSURES IT HAS NO PREFERRED CANDIDATES Kidero letter exposes rift in Raila party
NOMINATIONS PARTY REASSURES IT HAS NO PREFERRED CANDIDATES FOR ANY SEAT Nairobi Governor writes protest letter to ODM secretary general after Raila Odinga ally Junet Mohamed allegedly says Kidero won’t get party ticket for 2017 relection
Nairobi Governor writes protest letter to ODM secretary general after Raila Odinga ally Junet Mohamed allegedly says Kidero won’t get party ticket for 2017 relection.
The protest by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero against a key ally of Raila Odinga has revealed intrigues and looming trouble over nominations threatening to split ODM.
In a bitter letter to ODM secretary general Agnes Zani on September 7, Kidero said Suna East MP Junet Mohamed loudly swore in Nairobi’s crowded Trattoria restaurant that Kidero will not get the ODM ticket for re-election. Raila received a copy.
Contacted yesterday, firebrand lawmaker Mohamed declined comment about the alleged September 5 incident. He is ODM’s director of elections and considered key to Raila’s winning the Muslim vote.
ODM’S bungled nominations in 2013 have given rise to fears the primaries will not be free and fair this time around, and Mohamed’s alleged comments add fuel to the fire.
ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen did issued a statement yesterday, saying the party has no preferred candidate for any seat. He sought to allay fears of bias tilting the nominations.
“The nomination exercise is a sole responsibility of the National Elections Board and it is the board that will give the timetable and the modus operandi of the nominations,” Ong’wen said
“Members of the NEC have no role whatsoever in managing party primaries and therefore should desist from commenting on the same, as this creates unnecessary panic and anxiety among our members,” Ong’wen said.
The bitter complaint by the Nairobi county chief comes only days after Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya decamped to Jubilee, alleging an elaborate strategy to deny him the ODM re-election ticket.
In Nyanza, Raila’s political bedrock, panic has gripped political leaders amid claims some ODM power brokers are openly threatening opponents and claiming the party nominations are a done deal.
The fears have been heightened after MPs unanimously passed a law barring party hopping by nomination losers. This clips their wings in either fair or foul nomination contests.
In his letter, Kidero protested that Mohamed “loudly swore to those who were seated with him” in the restaurant that he would not be on the ballot because ODM has decided to deny him the ticket.
“I have information that Hon Mohamed loudly swore to those who were seated with him and within the hearing of the entire restaurant that I, Governor Kidero, will not be a candi-
date for the Governor of Nairobi since the Party has already decided to deny me the Party ticket for 2017,” Kidero protested. He joins a list of ODM leaders seeking reassurance the nominations will be free and fair.
Chaotic nominations in ODM strongholds in 2013 broke Raila’s campaign momentum and cost the party several seats.
“By this letter, I ask the party takes up this matter with a view to reassuring me and other members that the outcome of the Party’s nominations for Governors and other elective positions in the 2017 General elections have not been pre-determined,” Kidero said.
Although Kidero has no known competitor in Cord, there are fears ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi could be given the Nairobi governor ticket if he joins Cord. However, Mudavadi insists he is gunning for the presidency.
In his letter, Kidero hit out at Junet, terming his behaviour “most unfortunate” and said he should not among the party’s leaders.
“I find Hon Mohamed’s behaviour not only most unfortunate but also careless in the extreme. It does not inspire confidence in his integrity and fairness at all and makes unten- able his continued stay as director of campaigns in ODM,” he stated.
Junet is a trusted Raila confidant and has been pivotal in ODM as the opposition supremo reaches out to the Muslim vote bloc.
Though muted, concerns about bungled primaries now are among the issues Raila will have to decisively address as he lays the ground for a do-or-die rematch with the President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga, who was catapulted to office by a bloody falling out in the party’s 2013 nominations, on Sunday hit out at ODM. He warned that his party risked losing support unless it restrained its local “power-brokers”.
Rasanga asked why the party was silently watching while his opponents tore into his leadership as they prepare to challenge him next year. He accused his rivals, who include Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo and former PS Carey Orege, of waging a nasty campaign against his administration.
In Kisumu, there is also anxiety as Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, a former ODM secretary general, battles incumbent Governor Jack Ranguma and youthful architect Christopher Ondiek.
KHALWALE RUBISHES 6-PIECE VOTE
However, the nomination headache disrupts the entire opposition arithmetic.
Ford Kenya leaders, for instance, are strongly opposed to Raila’s calls for six-suit voting for his ODM.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale rubbished Raila’s calls, saying Western will vote for Ford Kenya.
“I want to tell your partner and my friend [Raila] he is talking to himself. Our people, especially here in Kakamega, will vote for a Cord candidate in the presidential election [but] for the governorship, senatorial, parliamentary, and MCA positions, we will vote for Ford Kenya,” Khalwale said.
He is challenging Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
In Mombasa, Governor Hassan Joho, ODM’s deputy party leader, is fighting Senator Hassan Omar of Wiper.
ODM has announced it will hold party primaries in February next year — six months to the August 8 polls.
Raila has assured supporters that ODM has learnt from its mistakes and apologised for the botched 2013 nominations.
“To err is human, but it is stupid to repeat the same mistake. That’s why the party has streamlined the nomination process, to ensure the exercise is credible to reduce squabbles arising from the primaries,” he said.
Interior Security CS Joseph Nkaissery, Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during the burial of William Ole Ntimama at his farm in Motonyi, Narok county.