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Why six-piece call is a tough sell in Migori

 

Migori residents protest after ODM's nominations. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

 

The six-piece voting pattern-seeking to have all aspirants nominated by ODM in Nyanza region elected is facing rejection in Migori County.

Party leader Raila Odinga has been calling on party supporters, especially in the Nyanza bloc which is considered an ODM stronghold, to only vote for ODM candidates on August 9.

However, some residents have faulted the ‘six-piece’ agenda, claiming leaders who won in the April 18 nominations together with those who were handed direct tickets have been imposed on them.

Voters drawn from Nyatike, Suna West, Uriri, Rongo and Awendo sub-counties said the recent party nominations were deeply flawed. They claim ODM is taking voters for granted.

“We are not happy. We are being forced to support people we don’t want,” Peter Odero, a resident of Uriri said.

They accused the party of stiffling democracy, adding that what happened during the primaries was a repeat of 2017.

“We are not short of leaders. This will force us to divide our votes,” Maricus Otieno, who hails from Nyatike sub-county, said.

The residents who appealed to the party to reform its structures, said they they would rally behind leaders they believe will deliver irrespective of their parties.

Woman Rep, Senate, MP and MCA aspirants who lost in the nominations and have since picked independent tickets for the August elections, accused the party of holding shambolic polls.

“I won in the nominations but I was never handed the certificate,” Grace Oyamo, a Nominated MCA said.

Fatuma Mohammed accused the party of denying her victory and giving it to Denittah Ghati in the Woman Rep race.

“There was favouritism in the process and this was not good at all,” Ms Mohammed said.

Tom Toro, MCA Ragana Oruba Ward, claimed the nominations were not free and fair. He called on the party to respect the will of the voters.

Direct tickets

However, some candidates who were handed direct tickets like Senator Ochilo Ayacko and Uriri MP Mark Nyamita have been keen on the six-piece idea.

The county has been known to be cosmopolitan. In the 2013 polls, Okoth Obado clinched the governorship through the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), before he decamped to ODM when he was seeking a second term.

The county has since embraced other parties and independent tickets. Peter Masara, who is the Suna West MP, was an independent candidate and managed to floor the constituency’s former MP Joseph Ndiege.

And when Migori Senator Ben Oluoch Okello died, Eddy Oketch of the Federal Party of Kenya gave Ochillo Ayacko, the ODM candidate, a run for his money.

Even though Ayacko won, Migori voters sent a strong message that they no longer cared about party choices.