20 April 2017

Kenya: Tribunal Dismisses Case Challenging Obado ODM Membership

The controversy surrounding Migori Governor Okoth Obado's validity as a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party was yesterday shoved aside after the Political Disputes Tribunal dismissed the case challenging the issue.

A five-member tribunal ruled that the complainant in the case, George Odede, had not exhausted internal party mechanisms in an attempt to solve the dispute.

Consequently, the tribunal upheld arguments by ODM defending Mr Obado.

ODM had also told the tribunal that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter as required by law, an argument which the tribunal agreed with in their verdict.

"The preliminary objection is hereby sustained, the complainant ought to have invoked internal mechanism before approaching this tribunal, the case was therefore premature and is therefore dismissed," they ruled.

Mr Odede, an ODM member, had moved to the tribunal in March to protest that the Governor did not formally give his former party a notice of defection before ODM.

Through lawyer Chrispin Odhiambo, he had faulted Mr Obado of violating the Political Parties Act for failing to formally give a notice of defection from the party in which he was elected on, the People's Democratic Party, as Governor.

He had also argued that ODM might continue to have him participate in their party activities including the party nominations now set for Monday in preparations for the August 8 elections contrary to the Political parties Act, Elections Act and the Constitution.

But through lawyer Samuel Makori, ODM trashed the allegations levelled against Mr Obado as merely speculative saying that he had not violated any law by defecting in addition to the argument on jurisdiction.

ODM had also insisted that it will take into consideration vetting him if he aspires to contest as its candidate and that he had satisfactorily met all conditions set out as well as relevant national legislation before joining them.

Following the verdict, Mr Obado was granted reprieve and may continue to act as an ODM member even as he is set to battle to retain his seat on the party's ticket with former Cabinet minister Ochillo Ayacko, Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga's wife Anne and Mr Paul Odola.

Mr Odede had wanted the tribunal to declare him not a member of ODM, that his continued association with it is illegal and that his seat be declared vacant if he indeed resigned from PDP.

Kenya

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