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Friday, May 26, 2017

Raila moves to tame fallout in ODM Nairobi, says Jubilee caused nominations chaos

Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa and party leader Raila Odinga at Charter Hall during a meeting with aspirants, May 19, 2017. /JOSEPH NDUNDA
Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa and party leader Raila Odinga at Charter Hall during a meeting with aspirants, May 19, 2017. /JOSEPH NDUNDA

Raila Odinga on Friday moved to forestall a possible fall out within ODM Nairobi amid claims of rigging at the primaries.

The NASA flag bearer met all aspirants for city posts to woo them into supporting his party's candidates.

He acknowledged challenges, which he blamed President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party for, but encouraged "healing", "moving on" and supporting ODM nominees.

Raila said Jubilee took a Bill to Parliament, barring party-hopping after nominations.

"This law made nominations chaotic," he said, adding they resorted to this to prevent members who lost or were denied tickets from moving to other parties.

Raila told the aspirants he had heard their concerns but that they needed to focus on their "collective enemy".

"I have keenly listed to all those who spoke...people spoke with too much bitterness. I have seen 'Chapia Chapia' ranting and all that is okay," he said at Charter Hall.

"There are people who are disgruntled, and genuinely so, but we must focus on the bigger challenge. What happened was an internal affair. The enemy is out there...we have fought properly...we should not forget our collective enemy."

Noting infighting was pointless, he said: "It is like going to hunt a gazelle and after shooting and wounding it, starting a fight with your colleague as the gazelle goes away. We must find a way of healing these wounds to move forward together as one team because the major challenge is ahead of us."

Gabriel Bukachi, popularly known as Chapia Chapia, and lawyer Edwin Sifuna were embroiled in a tussle over who would fly ODM's flag in the Nairobi senator race.

Chapia claimed he was implored by ODM leader Raila Odinga to step down for Sifuna but declined the request. He won the nominations unopposed but ODM’s top leadership preferred Sifuna saying he was a “stronger candidate with a national outlook”.

Read: Chapia, lawyer Sifuna in tussle over ODM Nairobi Senator ticket

Also read: Disputes tribunal bars ODM from fronting lawyer Sifuna for Nairobi senatorial race

Raila further said the nominations were similar to general elections.

"A nomination is not an election. What happened during the nominations was much like the elections. We saw long queues just like we see on election day," said the Opposition chief.

"There were printed ballot papers, ballot boxes, returning and presiding officers and polling clerks. It was just like a general election - there was no difference."

Raila added that parties did not have money for the logistical aspect of the primaries. He noted IEBC was given Sh40 billion for the elections and parties Sh200 million for nominations countrywide.

"Recruiting [officials] and training them on election laws is not easy; it is a major undertaking for political parties. We should appreciate all the party did amid the challenges. It made aspirants take law into their hands."

Some of the aspirants said they had not been issued with certificates despite being declared winners by ODM's National Elections Board and the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.



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