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Raila refunds ODM hopefuls fees after hitch

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | September 17th 2019
ODM leader Raila Odinga with Imran Okoth when he was officially presented with his Kibra parliamentary seat certificate at Orange House. [Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has refunded Sh2.25 million nomination fees to nine aspirants after rogue party officials bungled primaries in Kibra, The Standard can reveal.

Raila handed each of the aspirants Sh250,000 they had paid for the party primaries following revelations of how some top party officials orchestrated doctoring of the voters’ roll.

The latest development points to an open admission by the party’s top brass that the process – which was generally seen as peaceful – fell short of a free and fair vote.

Yesterday, two senior party officials confirmed that Raila returned the funds on Wednesday to Dagoretti High School Principal Peter Orero, who emerged second, Ben Musungu, John Otieno, Chris Odhiambo and Tony Ogola. Others who were refunded were Stephen Okello, Brian Owino, Reuben Ojijo and Eric Obayi.

The Standard verified the information with some of the aspirants, who confirmed that they received their nomination fees from the party.

Interviews with multiple sources indicated that the furious opposition chief made the decision after an hour-long meeting last Tuesday where the claims of deliberate interference with the register was laid bare in his presence and other party honchos.

A good number of the ODM members who turned up to participate in the exercise either found their names missing or had them mixed up, effectively denying them opportunity to cast their vote.

ODM Secretary Edwin Sifuna yesterday declined to comment over the development.

But in a previous interview, Sifuna admitted that there were challenges with the register used during the primaries.

Yesterday, Raila admitted there were cases of missing names in the register but denied the errors were deliberately introduced by the officials.

Through his spokespersons Dennis Onyango, he appealed to all the aspirants in the party primaries to remain committed to the outfit.

He was responding to our earlier story that revealed how top officials at the secretariat doctored the party’s voter roll to influence the outcome.

“Mr Odinga acknowledges that there were challenges in the nominations, with names missing from the voter register but those were not tailored or deliberately introduced to favour or disenfranchise any aspirant,” reads the statement sent to newsroom yesterday.

Rails further urged party supporters to take pride in the fact that only ODM conducted party primaries for Kibra constituency by-elections.

Other parties in the race handpicked their candidates while Jubilee Party conducted interviews in picking footballer McDonald Mariga.

Raila will today meet the campaign team of ODM candidate Bernard Okoth (Imran) at AIC Olympic Kibra.

The party has picked Makadara MP George Aladwa to spearhead campaigns in the constituency that fell vacant following the death of Ken Okoth.

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