Capital FM (Nairobi)

26 January 2013

Kenya: IEBC to Pronounce Over 200 Verdicts On Party Primaries

Claims of favouritism, omission of names from ballot papers, violence and intimidation of Returning Officers topped the list of complaints from various disgruntled aspirants, as the dispute resolution hearings entered the third day on Saturday.

Among those who appeared before the committee was Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, who clinched the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket for Homabay Senate.

A petition was however filed before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) panel challenging Kajwang's nomination with one of the observers arguing that he did not hold sufficient credentials to vie for the seat.

The fact that his name was once struck of the LSK's advocates' roll was the main bone of contention that came back to haunt him after an observer argued that it put a dent into his leadership qualities.

"Honourable Kajwang you are aware and you accept that under Section 60 of the Advocates Act, if you are found guilty of professional misconduct, one of the harshest sentences is to be struck off the roll of advocates," explained Eugene Nyamunga, an advocate.

"Do you accept or deny that?" he asked Kajwang who responded in the affirmative.

The outspoken Minister however dismissed the allegations saying the High Court is the only institution mandated to issue rulings on the qualities of a leader.

ODM National Elections Board Chairman Franklin Bett, who was also present, added that he supported Kajwang's win.

The committee however put the matter to rest saying it would issue its stand on Monday, when it would make determinations on other appeals.

"If I am accused of robbery or if I am accused of sleeping with someone's wife, it might be an integrity issue. So the issue of integrity must be defined in law," argued Kajwang.

"And I was not responsible for that election. I participated in an election, I was declared the winner and the party has the results," he added.

Slightly more than 200 petitions had been filed before the IEBC committee. Those from the ODM were about 97 while those from The National Alliance were about 65. There were also complaints from members of the New Ford Kenya, United Republican Party and Kenya African National Union.

And while parties conceded in some instances, the IEBC panel indicated it would issue rulings on those that were still in contention.

Mwita Ngimeria and Victor Oginga also appeared before the committee accusing the ODM of unfairly denying them nomination certificates.

Ngimeria alleged that his main opponent for the Makerero ward representative was shot dead just before the nominations and that he was also later attacked and left for dead.

He explained that ODM later awarded his deceased opponent's wife with the nomination certificate.

"I wonder how ODM issued the certificate to the late wife of my opponent. They took my certificate and issued it to someone who is non partisan," he said.

Bett however said that the party had conceded and would give him back the endorsement ticket.

Oginga, who was seeking the ODM ticket for Seme parliamentary seat, took issue with the fact that one of his opponents was disqualified by the party over claims of rigging and violence but later issued with the nomination certificate.

Oginga argued that the nominations in the constituency were stopped after claims of voter buying surfaced but that his opponent's supporters went into tallying centres, where the exercise had already been conducted and burnt ballot papers.

"I would like ODM to revoke that certificate because the truth is I was winning in all those places. That is why they disrupted the nominations. Even if we call elections today, I will still beat that fellow. I am sure of myself," he stressed.

James Nyikal, to whom the certificate was awarded, was also present. And when he was asked whether he deserved the win, he said it was the party's decision.

"I was given the certificate. At that point there were no results. I had nothing to do with the violence whatsoever. I received the certificate yesterday but it is dated 18 (January)," he said when asked whether he thought he was entitled to the certificate.

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