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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Homa Bay, Migori primaries set for Monday, 2,000 cops deployed

Homa Bay county commissioner Kassim Farrah speaks to journalists in his office yesterday /ROBERT OMOLLO
Homa Bay county commissioner Kassim Farrah speaks to journalists in his office yesterday /ROBERT OMOLLO

The Homa Bay and Migori ODM nominations have been postponed to Monday. They had initially been scheduled for today.

Yesterday the National Election Board said the change was prompted by “reorganisation occasioned by the repeats in several areas across the country where the exercise has been held and hitches reported”.

The Siaya and Kisumu nominations will also be held on Monday.

ODM tickets in the four counties are hotly contested because winners are guaranteed victory in the general election.

The postponement follows claims of rigging. The NEB, however, has dismissed the allegations. It said there is heavy security when election materials are dispatched and no ballot papers have been stolen to set the ground for rigging.

Meanwhile, 2,000 police officers will be deployed across Homa Bay to provide security during nominations, county commissioner Kassim Farrah said yesterday.

The officers will be posted in all 854 polling centres.

They are drawn from the Rapid Response Unit, anti-stock theft and the General Service Unit, among others.

“The security officers are not meant to intimidate the locals when they exercise their right but tasked to ensure there’s peace and tranquility,” Farrah said.

Speaking to journalists at his Homa Bay Town office, he said the security team summoned four politicians to discuss security.

The politicians are ODM national chairman and Suba MP John Mbadi, Kasipul MP and governor hopeful Oyugi Magwanga, Ndhiwa parliamentary hopeful Joshua Orero and Central Karachuonyo MCA Julius Gaya.

“We summoned [them] to shed light over recent political fracas being levelled against them in their perceived strongholds,” Farrah said.

The four were told to control their supporters. Farrah said they will not spare anyone who disrupts the peace and urged residents to remain calm.

“We’ve noted hotspot areas across the county, hence I appeal to every participant in the exercise to respect humanity,” he said.

“All aspirants and supporters are equal to the task of maintaining peace since we will not sympathise with law breakers.”

On Wednesday, county election board chairman Tom Cheriga said they are prepared to conduct credible nominations. He said they will adopt the gazetted IEBC centres as their polling stations.

“I assure party supporters and aspirants that my team is prepared for nothing less but free, fair and credible nominations,” Cheriga told journalists in Homa Bay town.

The chairman dismissed claims they are partisan. “We welcome everybody at our desk to share with us their complaints to enable us bring confidence in them before the nomination day,” he said. Cheriga was accompanied by board member Jack Ong’iyo.

Returning officers and polling clerks are the only people who will be allowed to handle elections.

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