KISUMU: The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has said all aspirants will face competitive nominations in the run-up to the next General Election.
The party was reacting to a request by three Nyanza governors for direct nominations ahead of the 2017 polls.
Governors Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) and Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) had asked for direct ODM nominations in order to free up time to campaign for CORD leader Raila Odinga in his presidential bid.
The leaders, who spoke during a fundraiser in Homa Bay County, sent ODM Chairman John Mbadi to plead with Raila to grant them free tickets.
But ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba said there would be no free rides on the 'Orange train'.
He said no candidate will be favoured for any position because the party wants everyone to compete fairly for ODM tickets.
"No amount of lame excuses and mind games will change the party position. ODM has suffered enough from past sham nominations. Never again," said Mr Namwamba.
The Budalang'i MP lashed out at governors saying as senior members of the party, they should lead in projecting the best image of the Orange party as the best home for democracy, fairness and credibility and not crying for free rides.
He said governors should have no reason to panic if they are sure they have done a good job for their people since their performance will determine their fate.
The same message was echoed by party chairman John Mbadi. Speaking to The Standard yesterday, Mbadi told the governors not to be hopeful on the issue of free nominations.
"It is true the governors sent me to the party leader to negotiate for their direct nomination tickets but they did it informally. Which means I can also handle it informally," said Mbadi.
The Suba MP said the request will not succeed on grounds that party nomination is not done by an individual.
Mbadi assured gubernatorial aspirants in Nyanza to be calm because they will be accorded equal opportunity for contesting with incumbent governors.
"As we speak, the position is that nobody is going to be accorded a direct nomination in Nyanza. All aspirants will be exposed to a competitive nomination," he added.
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The direct nomination request by incumbents also irked Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who is also eyeing the county's top seat claiming some governors have built a war chest for the 2017 elections and that they are over confident.
Kisumu Senator Anyang' Nyong'o and his Siaya counterpart James Orengo have issued a warning to the ODM national elections board against holding sham nominations to avert disagreements among members.
Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga criticised the move and accused the governors of failing to be sincere with their electorate.
"Let the Governors stop blocking their opponents. Fearing competition in the nomination means they did not serve the people well," said Anyanga.