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ODM tells IEBC to 'fine or disqualify' the culprits of Homa Bay campaign chaos

By Alphonce Shiundu | February 4th 2015

NAIROBI, KENYA: The national chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement John Mbadi on Wednesday told off the electoral commission over the threat to suspend the Homa Bay senatorial by-election following the campaign violence.

Speaking to The Standard, Mbadi said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ought to have dealt with the "rowdy youths and their sponsor" for the attacks against ODM's candidate Moses Kajwang'.

"We filed a formal report with the county returning officer about the violence. It just happens in one ward. It is engineered by the same person, and it targets our candidate. We expected people to be summoned and fined, but so far, nothing has happened," said Mbadi, also Suba MP.

The MP insisted that the IEBC had the power to fine or disqualify candidates who engage in electoral violence, and should not use "isolated violent incidents" as an excuse to cancel the by-election.
"If the commission can mishandle one by-election this way, then our fears are confirmed that the commissioners are incompetent (to conduct the General Election) and they should go home," said Mbadi.

The call for the commission to act comes just a day after the candidates in the poll accused the IEBC of failing to tame the runaway breach of the electoral code of conduct. The IEBC had warned that if the violence does not abate, then, it will be forced to invoke the myriad of legal provisions including the cancellation of the by-election.

"How can a whole commission threaten to call off a by-election in a county with eight constituencies and 40 wards, just because of violence in one market? Everyone knows the person behind the violence, I don't know why they just can't fine him. They can even disqualify him, but we don't want the person disqualified, we want to have the joy of defeating him in the ballot," Mbadi added.

Homa Bay County has eight constituencies: Homa Bay Town, Rangwe, Suba, Mbita, Karachuonyo, Kasipul, Kabondo Kasipul and Ndhiwa. The senatorial seat was left vacant following the death of the office holder Otieno Kajwang'.

Kajwang's brother, Moses Kajwang' was nominated by ODM to replace his brother in the Senate. The others vying for the seat include Philip Okundi (Maendeleo Party of Kenya), Fred Rabongo (National Agenda Party of Kenya), independent candidates Edwin Matete and Hillary Alila.

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