Nakuru County Assembly Minority Leader Peter Kajwang has expressed his displeasure over the cancellation of ODM party primaries in Nakuru County by the National Elections Board.
Kajwang condemned the cancellation claiming that a faction of the branch leadership sought to play an active part in the recruitment of the nomination officials leading to mistrust among aspirants on the credibility of the exercise.
Kajwang, the MCA of Kaptembwa ward, dismissed as cheap lies claims by a section of party members that he and Nakuru Town West Member of Parliament had been given direct tickets to defend their seats.
“We were ready for nominations until individuals who sensed that the ground had shifted resorted to violence after sensing defeat. It is only law abiding members of the party who have taken time to market its manifesto who ensured sanity eventually prevailed,” Kajwang said.
Internal leadership wrangles and mistrust among party members have left the party divided with two sets of officials laying claim to county positions.
Wrangling for the party leadership in Nakuru started after the death of former ODM Nakuru County chairperson Peter Ole Osono on March 30, 2021, through Covid-19.
“The party leadership in all the 11 constituencies was agreed on. A middle ground wasn’t reached for the county level. This led to the emergence of two county factions,” said Hilton Abiola, a former official.
Bernard Miruka, the chairman to one of the factions, said there was disquiet among the aspirants who felt that branch officials would have been involved in the recruitment of the officials and the nominations.
“We have information that some aspirants have been handed direct tickets to defend their seats. We will not allow the nomination exercise to be a mere formality to whitewash certain favoured individuals,” Mr Miruka said.
While announcing the cancellations, ODM National Elections Board (NEB) cited acts of hooliganism and violence that had been witnessed.
In a statement dispatched to newsrooms NEB chairperson Catherine Mumma said the decision had been taken on Thursday evening after chaos rocked the training of clerks and presiding officers that were to conduct the primaries.
Ms Mumma urged the aspirants to continue engaging the electorate as they waited for the party to give further directions on the matter.
She indicated that the clerks and presiding officers were to oversee the nominations in Nakuru Town East and Nakuru Town Sub-Counties on Friday April, 1 adding that without them the exercise could not proceed.
“In the spirit of zero tolerance for violence in elections, I felt that it’s important to safeguard the safety of all who choose to participate in the elections. We have recorded statements with the police,” it read in part.
Ms Mumma stated that ODM’s national secretariat had recruited clerks and presiding officers who were being trained at Nakuru Primary in Nakuru East when a group of armed youth stormed the venue.
The training according to the NEB Chairperson was disrupted moments before it came to a close dissuading the trainers from proceeding to a similar exercise in Nakuru West.