Aspirants allied to Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o have clashed over the constitution of the county’s elections committee ahead of the ODM primaries slated for April 13.
While Mr Ranguma’s camp has rejected the team accusing it of leaning towards Prof Nyong’o’s side, the senator’s camp welcomed it, saying the ODM National Elections Board is mandated to constitute the committee after “thorough interviews.”
Prof Nyong’o, Mr Ranguma and former NGO board executive director Dr Hezron Mc’Obewa are battling for the governor’s seat.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir, who is allied to Mr Ranguma, expressed his displeasure with the constitution of the county’s elections board, arguing that it is comprised of Prof Nyong’o and Nyando MP Fred Outa’s “henchmen.”
Prof Nyong’o is seeking to unseat Mr Ranguma while Mr Outa want’s to replace the Kisumu senator. Both are in the same camp.
Mr Shabbir hinted that they will seek other options if ODM does not listen to their grievances.
“We cannot allow the current team to preside over the nominations because we know they have already taken sides. But we are not short of other options,” an agitated Mr Shabbir told the Nation by phone.
Mr Ranguma’s camp had also claimed that the chairman of the county election committee, Mr Geoffrey Yogo, is a member of Mr Outa’s CDF board.
But Mr Outa denied that Mr Yogo is a member of his current CDF board.
“They have sensed defeat and are seeking avenues to defect from ODM. The county elections board members duly applied, and were selected by the National Elections Board, based on their experience. They have undergone training and are ready for the task ahead. Where were they when these people were appointed and trained? Why did they wait until now to complain?” posed Mr Outa.
But Mr Shabbir insisted that Mr Yogo is a close ally of Mr Outa, having served as his CDF treasurer and his personal advocate claims Mr Outa dismissed as lacking any merit to warrant the disqualification of the team.
On Saturday, a meeting that had been convened by Mr Ranguma’s camp at Kisumu Hotel ended in disarray.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that “party leader Raila Odinga influenced the decision to call off the meeting as it would put the party into disrepute.”
A leaked press statement seen by the Nation and only signed by a handful of those who attended the meeting but which was never read to Journalists stated that the team rejected the county elections committee led by Mr Yogo.
The statement was signed by Mr Shabbir, Mr K’Oyoo, Ms Nereah Okombo, Maurice Aloo and Kelvin Oselu Obondo, all ODM aspirants.
Mr Shabbir confirmed that they discussed the grievances mentioned in the statement.