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Showdown looms over election of majority leader

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Thu, September 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 5th 2018 at 22:58 GMT +3

Homa Bay County MCAs address journalists near the entrance of the county assembly premises on August 25, 2018. The MCAs were denied entry by security guards. Fresh wrangles have ensured in the County Assembly after a group MCAs ousted their Majority and his deputy. [PHOTO: JAMES OMORO/STANDARD]

A showdown is looming at the county assembly today as leadership wrangles among members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party intensify.

Party members were scheduled to elect the majority leader today but the party leaders reportedly instructed members yesterday not to conduct the elections despite one faction vowing to go ahead.

The dispute arose as both Richard Ogindo and Were Muok claimed they were legitimate majority leaders, with a faction allied to the latter criticising the party for calling off the elections.

Lobbying for the seat had intensified, with both factions conducting night strategy meetings at hotels in Kisumu and Homa Bay.

Several MCAs told The Standard that they received a text message from a party official instructing them to maintain the status quo.

Mr Muok claimed the message, which was sent on behalf of the party executive director, was malicious and appeared fake.

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Majority leader

“The party should not dictate who our majority leader becomes. It is upon us, as members, to decide,” said Muok.

He said he would mobilise his members to continue with the election even if the rival faction chose to boycott it.

In the text message, the party said the election had been postponed to pave the way for consultations.

Mr Ogindo, who met MCAs allied to him in Kisumu yesterday, later told journalists that they had agreed to respect the party’s decision.

“I want to urge members to adopt a conciliatory tone as we debate on the floor of the House and we are asking everyone to heed the party’s call,” said Ogindo, adding that he was prepared to defend his seat.

“The party is bigger than us and we must give it opportunity to give direction.”

Majority Whip Sophie Kowange urged party members to unite for peaceful co-existence in the county assembly.

But MCAs who want Ogindo out of office said he had been abusing his mandate and failing the party.

An MCA who sought anonymity told The Standard that the supremacy row was to blame for some of the frustrations at the county assembly in the past few months, including the budget stalemate that also saw members accused of asking for Sh3 million bribes.


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