21 April 2017

Kenya: Confusion Mars ODM Vihiga Primaries

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on Thursday moved its primaries for Vihiga County twice in a span of hours.

Initially, the primaries had been scheduled for Friday April 21 but at around midday on Thursday, the party announced it had rescheduled the same to Saturday without giving reasons for the change.

Its partner in the National Super Alliance (Nasa), Amani National Congress (ANC) will also hold its primaries on the same day.

While announcing the change from the initial date, ODM coordinator in Vihiga, Ben Ombima said: "The date has been rescheduled from Friday April 21 to Saturday April 22. The change in the dates also affected the nominations for Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya and Kisumu counties."

But on Thursday evening, a press release by ODM director of communications Philip Etale said the primaries had now been pushed to Tuesday April 25.

The statement explained the second change in the date was occasioned after ODM learnt ANC would hold primaries on the same day.

"Our sister party in Nasa, the Amani National Congress (ANC), has scheduled their primaries in Vihiga County for Saturday, the same day the National Elections Board of the ODM party had slated its primaries in the County," said Mr Etale.

It adds: "The Board met this afternoon (Thursday) to deliberate on the matter and has now directed that the party primaries for Vihiga County be pushed forward to Tuesday alongside Nairobi, Garissa and Makueni Counties."

ODM primaries in the region are expected to attract stiff competition in Vihiga and Emuhaya constituencies.

In Vihiga Constituency, Woman representative Dorcas Kedogo and Mr Christopher Amasava will be fighting for the ODM ticket while Mr Charles Sande and Mark Echoka will face off in Emuhaya Constituency.

Already ODM has given Emuhaya MP Dr Wilbur Ottichilo a direct ticket to run for the Vihiga governorship in the August polls.

Similarly, Luanda MP Mr Chris Omulele was also issued with a direct ticket to seek re-election.

At the same time, Sabatia branch ODM chairman Samuel Minyade complained that the party's primaries had been shrouded in secrecy.

"We are in the dark as a branch and county officials. We don't have any information from the national and county elections boards," said Mr Minyade.

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