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Death, chaos as ODM polls off in some centres

Tuesday April 25 2017

Youths rough up bodyguards of Rangwe MP George Oner at Omoche Primary School polling station in Homa Bay on April 24, 2017.

Youths rough up bodyguards of Rangwe MP George Oner at Omoche Primary School polling station in Homa Bay on April 24, 2017. One person died in the county after he was run over by a car during the ODM nominations. PHOTO | TONY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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One person was killed and dozens injured yesterday as violence, chaos and confusion continued to mar ODM nominations, highlighting the failure by political parties to apply lessons from past botched primaries.

In Mombasa, Changamwe Member of Parliament Omar Mwinyi was arrested and briefly detained at Port Police Station.

He was charged at the Mombasa Law Courts over poll violence.

Wundanyi MP and Minority Chief Whip Thomas Mwadeghu said he will boycott repeat polls in four polling centres in Taveta Sub-County tomorrow as his rival, Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu, threatened to leave the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo reported the death of her “supporter” at Homa Bay Police Station.

ATTACKED MOTORCADE

“He was knocked down by a vehicle belonging to one of my rivals which had been trailing me,” said Ms Odhiambo. “They also attacked my motorcade.”

Homa Bay County police commander John Omusanga said: “We have received the report on one death and launched immediate investigations.”

Chaos broke out after Rangwe MP George Oner allegedly stormed Omoche Primary School polling station with about 50 youths in Toyota Probox cars. Nation photojournalist Tonny Omondi was beaten and robbed of Sh4,200.

Voters, who had lined up to vote at around 3:30pm, seemed to be irked by the MP’s action and engaged the group and overpowered them.

The MP’s Mercedes Benz car was stoned as he fled.

CAST HER VOTE

Minutes later, Mr Oner’s main rival Lilian Gogo arrived to cast her vote.

“I have information that his aim was to cause chaos and stop the voting process in my strongholds,” said Dr Gogo, who reported the matter to Rangwe Police Station.

Mr Oner, however, denied that he stormed the centre, saying: “I only had one vehicle there.”

In Homa Bay Town Constituency, chaos erupted at Rodi Primary School polling station when officials decided to use exercise books as ballot papers.

Aspiring MP Sam Asiyo said his attempts to seek redress bore no fruit.

“It was wrong for the officials to ignore the registers and resort to pieces of paper,” said Mr Asiyo. “This enabled even non-members to vote.”

DELAY OF MATERIALS

Stakes remained high in the governorship race as incumbent Cyprian Awiti faced a challenge from Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, businessman Samuel Wakiaga, Mr Cosmas Kanyadudi and Mr Enosh Bolo.

However, all eyes are on Suba Constituency, where ODM chairman John Mbadi is squaring it out with Caroli Omondi, a former aide of ODM party leader Raila Odinga when he was Prime Minister.

In Kisumu and Siaya, insecurity and delay of materials led to postponement of polls. In Homa Bay and parts of Migori, voting was delayed for hours over delayed ballot papers and boxes.

Confusion reigned in Kisumu after Governor Jack Ranguma told residents to go and vote, saying he was not aware of the last-minute cancellation.

“I have not received any official communication from the (ODM) National Elections Board and, therefore, I’m treating the cancellation as rumours,” said Mr Ranguma.

In Changamwe, a parliamentary and two member of the county assembly aspirants called for the disqualification of incumbent MP Mwinyi.

DEMANDED TICKET
Mr Goshi Juma, who demanded the MP ticket, and MCA hopefuls Muhidin Shehe (Airport) and Edward Omindo (Port Reitz) claimed that they were rigged out by Mr Mwinyi, whom they accused of leading rowdy youth in storming polling centres and scaring away voters in Mr Juma’s stronghold.

In Taita-Taveta, Mr Mwadeghu said he would boycott repeat polls which the NEB ordered on Sunday in Jipe, Chala, Mahandakini and St Joseph Kivukoni primary schools.

Residents stare at a Toyota Probox vehicle that was overturned by a group of angry youth on Sunday night  at Nyatoto trading centre in Homa Bay County.

Residents stare at a Toyota Probox vehicle that was overturned by a group of angry youth on Sunday night at Nyatoto trading centre in Homa Bay County. The vehicle was suspected to be carrying marked ballot papers that were to be used to rig Monday’s ODM primaries. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Governor Mruttu and Mr Mwadeghu had forwarded their grievances to the party’s National Appeal Tribunal, accusing each other of messing up the primaries on Tuesday last week.

Mr Mwadeghu said it was unfair for the party to set a repeat date without investigating the incidents.

“If the party wants to favour the governor, then let it go ahead,” said Mr Mwadeghu. “I, Thomas Mwadeghu, together with my supporters in Taita-Taveta, will not repeat any nominations.”

LOSE SUPPORT
He warned that the party could lose support in the county if it goes ahead with the polls in the centres believed to be Mr Mruttu’s stronghold.

Mr Mwadeghu was accompanied by Voi MP Jones Mlolwa, Voi Constituency ODM chairman John Maghanga and three MCAs.

He said he had submitted evidence to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that the governor hired youth who disrupted training of ODM election clerks in Mwatate last Monday.

On Wednesday, ODM put on hold results for the county until voting is done in the four centres. Provisional results announced in Mwatate showed Mr Mwadeghu leading with 17,557 votes against Governor Mruttu’s 14,817.

Reports by Justus Ochieng, Barrack Oduor, Silas Apollo, Angela Oketch, Rushdie Oudia, Galgallo Bocha and Lucy Mkanyika