By Kepher Otieno
Stunned by protests from aspirants who lost in the Ndhiwa parliamentary by-election nomination, ODM has reached out to the dissenting voices in a bid to reclaim the parliamentary seat.
The Standard On Sunday established party officials prevailed upon party leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to persuade the aspirants to back party candidate Neto Oyugi, whose nomination had been contested.
The aspirants had threatened to switch their support to Kanu candidate Tom Alila to teach the party a lesson.
But upon sensing discontent, Raila agreed to meet the aspirants in Kisumu last week although a number of them snubbed the talks, saying the move was too little too late.
Raila was reportedly unhappy with the manner the Ndhiwa nomination was conducted, but assured them ODM cherished democracy.
“The first thing you have to do is to find out what the problem is, and this is why we agreed to discuss the way forward,” Raila said.
He reportedly told Neto to reach out to his rivals by all means and agree to work out a winning formula so that the party does not lose its grassroots strength. The seat fell vacant following the death of former Internal Security Assistant minister Orwa Ojode in a chopper crash on June 10 in Ngong.
According to one of the aspirants Monica Amollo, ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o and former National Elections Board chairman Philip Okundi and his team were blamed for nomination anomalies in Ndhiwa. Amollo, who is ODM Nyanza co-ordinator and Homa Bay County Treasurer, claimed polls officials who supervised the nominations had ‘an ulterior motive’ to bring down the party or antagonise it with voters.
Aspirants David Ojwang’, Michael Agwanda, Beatrice Ogola, and Oyugi Onduru said they would support?Neto. They said they would not allow anti-Raila forces to use the opportunity to discredit ODM.
“I admit that the nomination was not to our expectations. But like a football match, whoever does not concede defeat is not a player,”Amolo said at a press conference in Homa Bay.