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ODM accuses state agencies of interference in Bonchari campaigns

By Grace Ng'ang'a | May 9th 2021
Kisii County Orange Democratic Movement Youth leaders led by their chairperson Denis Mosoti addresses a press conference at Suneka in Kisii County. The youth leaders said those who defected to Jubilee are impostors and have not been supporting the party. (Sammy Omingo, Standard)

ODM party has accused some government officials of interference in the Bonchari by-election campaigns.

The Orange party has claimed that senior officials in the Ministry of Interior and elements within the National Police Service are actively engaged in the campaigns to tilt the ground in favour of the Jubilee candidate.

In a letter to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati, ODM complained about alleged misuse of state agencies to influence the by-election.

“We wish to register our complaints with the commission following a series of well-calculated and systemic activities by a section of the state’s administrative and security agencies whose overall import is to adversely influence a free fair and democratic electoral process,” the letter read in part.

ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen said the party is a victim of unfair practices despite abiding by the laid down electoral laws and code of conduct.

He urged IEBC to intervene and ensure a level playing ground for all candidates ahead of the by-election slated for May 18 to replace the late MP John Oroo.

Ong’wen further claimed that local administrators have in an overt manner turned campaign agents of the Jubilee candidate Zebedeo Opore.

“The assistant chief of Bogitaa sub-location while speaking at a funeral in Mugoga area within Riana Ward publicly asked the voters to support the choice of the government. He told the public that the candidate from the government side is the chosen one and should be supported,” the letter read in part.

He added: “Such remarks made by a public officer are not only indicative to his partisanship nature but demonstrates the boldness and the extent some quarters are ready to go to the winning seat.”

This came after Riana MCA Ariemba Moisabi, who is drumming up support for ODM candidate Pavel Oimeke, was arrested following an altercation with an assistant chief at the burial.

“The arrest points to a well-calculated plan to provoke and intimidate our campaign team and must be condemned,” he said.

The executive director alleged a plot to transfer the tallying center of Bonchari constituency from Suneka Baraza Hall to Igongo Secondary School.

“Why the sudden change midstream of an electoral process without consulting the relevant stakeholders of this by-election?” He posed.

ODM settled on former Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority Director General Pavel Oimeke to vie for the seat.

The Orange party is not the only one complaining of unfairness in the campaign trail.

Last week United Democratic Alliance (UDA’s) candidate, Teresa Bitutu Oyioka, widow of the former MP, accused security officers of harassing her and her team and appealed to the government to ensure peaceful campaigns to allow voters to make an informed decision.

The UDA candidate's 15 supporters were arrested and charged with holding an illegal political meeting at St Angelic Teachers College, Suneka town.

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