By Lee M
ODM nominations has always been a chaotic affairs. Pundits blame the botched nominations in 2013 for failure by the ODM party to win majority of parliament seats in the country. In Kisumu country, out of 7 parliamentary seats, the party lost two and in Muhoroni, majority Mcas were elected on PDP ticket. In Migori, the Governor, an MP and a host of Mcas were elected on other parties.
As a result of the botched 2007 and 2017 nominations, party members petitioned the party leader to disband the highly discredited NEB which oversaw those nominations.
As a Democrat, the party leader heeded to the calls and engineered changes at the NEB. First, NEB was made autonomous with an aim of reducing influence from the Lords of impunity and secondly, the NEB was devolved to the counties so that counties could manage their own nomination affairs.
A new board was then put in place. The entire former board was disbanded. Only Hon Pareno Judith was retained for continuity.
As we approached the nominations, our Party leader assured supporters that the nominations would be free and that we will get it right this time. He then mandated the NEB to conduct free, fair and credible nominations.
Then the mess happened.
I followed the elections very closely. We must give credit where it’s due. In most instances, elections were largely successful. People turned up and voted peacefully. In most polling stations, votes were counted and results announced.
The big question we must ourselves then is what caused the mess after peaceful voting and counting?
In my view, a number of factors can be attributed to the chaos that followed our nominations.
First, I am aware most aspirants focused their attentions on final declaration of results. They worked hand in hand with their goons to ensure they are annouced the winners. To achieve this, they ensure results from their opponents strongholds are not announced. Most aspirants engineered kicking of ballot boxes at their opponents strongholds. In this instances, we blame the aspirants.
Secondly, some aspirants, in collaboration with the NEB, conspired to influence the appointment of returning officers who are their cronies. This was the beginning of mistrust. Sadly, NEB made little efforts to correct this. In this cases, NEB takes full responsibility.
Third, most returning officers saw this nominations as avenues for making easy money. I know of aspirants who parted with money or were asked to give money so that they will be declared the winners. Most returning officers made duplicate certificates which they then sold to gullible aspirants. That’s why in some instances we have more than three provisional certificates. In such cases, we blame the NEB for failing to vet the ROs.
Fourth, most aspirants declared themselves winners after winning in one or two polling centres. I am yet to meet any aspirant who has conceded they lost. Blames aspirants here.
Omiyo, anybody blaming Raila Odinga for the nominations fiasco must be told it’s the NEB and aspirants who should be blamed for the mess. The people our Party leader trusted with the responsibility of delivering free and fair nominations to the party members failed him.