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Langata ticket: ODM speaks as jitters arise over Jalango candidature

Politics
 

Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o. [File, Standard]

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) says it has not assured any aspirant of the party’s ticket eyeing any elective seat in Nairobi.

On Saturday, April 9, Twitter was awash with speculation that Lang’ata parliamentary hopeful Felix Odiwuor, alias Jalang’o, had been shoved aside in favour of another aspirant.

Twitter users did not point to any concrete genesis or source of the reports suggesting that Jalang’o has been shortchanged.

Twitter user Rodgers Mpuru said: “I warned my friend Jalas of party primaries, but he took my piece of advice as a joke…”

Jaloka (@_felsl1) said: “ODM wamefanyia Jalas ile kitu (ODM has shortchanged Jalas?).”

Book Ten (@Bookten8) said: “My boss Jalas has been denied [the ODM] ticket. We are going [to run on an] independent [candidate ticket].”

Odiwuor’s nickname “Jalas” was trending on Twitter at Number Six on April 9, with at least 3,730 tweets under it.

Jalang’o will face off against Oscar Omoke Ocholla and Musali Kaiga Siong’o for the ODM Lang’ata parliamentary ticket.

Omoke flew the party’s flag in the August 8, 2017 General Election, losing the Lang’ata MP seat to Jubilee’s Nixon Korir. Omoke got 39,593 votes, while Korir got 41,086 votes; a difference of 1,493 votes.

The Standard reached Jalang’o to comment about the rumoured shortchange, but our phone calls to him weren’t returned. Also reached for response unsuccessfully, were ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna and ODM’s Director of Elections Junet Mohamed.

However, at 4:06pm Saturday, Jalang’o took to his official Twitter page and posted: “No one has been denied the ticket, and no one has been given. Forget the rumours... We are in the Lang'ata race to the end."

ODM's chairperson of the National Elections Board (NEB) Catherine Mumma told The Standard that the rumours could have been mounted by aspirants who want to engage the party in a “psychological warfare”.

“The ODM Party has not met to determine which candidates get its ticket in Nairobi. Being the electioneering period, candidates would use all manner of psychological warfare to try and arm-twist the party,” she said.

“I’ll tell you for a fact that deliberations on who gets ODM ticket for Lang’ata parliamentary seat haven’t been held, neither have party primaries been conducted. And, that doesn’t apply only to Lang’ata, but all the other elective seats in Nairobi, minus the presidential ticket,” said Mumma.

Asked to give a date on when ODM will hold its meeting to finalise its list of Nairobi aspirants, Mumma said: “Don’t be in a hurry. We shall communicate when the appropriate time comes.”

The chairperson of ODM’s NEB further said: “Even [Westlands MP] Tim Wanyonyi, who is the only aspirant who has expressed interest in running for Nairobi Governor under the ODM ticket, has not been assured of the ticket yet until conclusive processes are observed.”

Mumma said almost every day she receives rumours about ODM ticket beneficiaries, even in areas that the party is yet to organise primaries in.

“It’s normal during the electioneering period. However, we’re assuring our aspirants of fair decisions at all nomination levels,” she said.

Besides elective nominations, ODM has adopted consensus and direct nomination as ways of giving its ticket to flag-bearers in the different elective seats, bar the presidential contest.

For instance, in Homa Bay, ODM issued direct ticket to governor hopeful Gladys Wanga, despite protests by former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. The party said its decision was informed by opinion poll ratings of the different aspirants. Kidero will run for the seat on an independent ticket.

Mombasa presents a headache for ODM as two strong aspirants – Mvita MP Abdullswamad Sheriff Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal – are seeking the party’s ticket ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Reports suggest ODM is contemplating consensus, and could favour Abdullswamad, a move that has been protested against by Shahbal.

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