Region manifests headache of independents

Region manifests headache of independents
By David Wanjala The Nasa brigade of ODM’s Raila Odinga, his running mate, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula headed to Busia County on June 25, nearly three months since the controversial ODM Party gubernatorial nominations that pitted the incumbent, Sospeter Ojaamong’ against MP for Funyula, Paul Otuoma, to a rude shock. Both Ojaamong and Otuoma are close confidantes of Odinga. ODM Party is a leading coalition partner in Nasa, the major opposition coalition that is being touted of having over half chances of forming the next government. With its Busia County party primary being the first, not just in the party but also in the Nasa coalition, and coming just a day or two behind Jubilee’s, it gave the party the enviable chance to lead by example for other coalition partners and, by extension, its opponents. To act as a role model, to showcase how, as incoming government, it intended to handle democratic processes and adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law. It failed spectacularly. It did not help that the failures of the party were captured and transmitted live by numerous national TV stations. In a stunning replication of some of the malpractices of the 2013 General Election in which certain strongholds of the two main coalitions, Jubilee and Cord, registered over 100% voter turn out, and that formed the basis of the presidential petition in the Supreme Court, Ojaamong’s two stronghold sub counties of Teso North and Teso South held on to election results until all Otuoma’s four strongholds of Budalangi, Funyula, Butula and Matayos submitted and tallied. By close of voting day, Otuoma was leading Ojaamong by 62,379 to 39,874 votes with five sub-counties already counted, including Nambale, a predominantly Luhya sub county but considered a swing sub-county owing to its proximity to the Teso community and the ensuing intermarriages. Late morning the following day, Ojaamong’s strongholds, in the now infamous 2013 Tharaka Nithi County fashion, delivered results indicating voter turnout of over 90% and turned the tables on his rival. It was plain daytime robbery. This nearly plunged the county into chaos similar to the 2007 post election violence. Otuoma’s plea to his party to declare him winner fell on deaf ears. The ODM electoral board was caught napping. They portrayed intentional ineptitude. First, they agreed the process was a sham. Then they declared it null and void. A few hours later, in a clear indication that they were taking orders from some quarters, they reinstated the results and annulled those of the two affected sub counties, Teso North and Teso South, which also happened to be the incumbent’s strongholds, a move that clearly disenfranchised the complainant. It came as a shocker, not just to the Nasa Coalition followers but even across the political divide, that Raila Odinga’s ODM did not only sweep under the carpet, but also…  

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