ODM postpones Nakuru primaries over security concerns

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Nakuru Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama during Azimio la Umoja rally at Kisulisuli grounds in Nakuru on March 2,2022. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

ODM supporters were caught by surprise after the party nominations in Nakuru County were called off at the eleventh hour. 

The Saturday Standard learnt that the primaries that were to take place on Friday were cancelled on Thursday night after chaos rocked the training of clerks and presiding officers.

“The national office recruited clerks and presiding officers. They were being trained at Nakuru Primary in Nakuru East when a group of armed youth stormed the venue,” said Hilton Abiola.

Abiola, a former party official said the training was thrown into disarray minutes before it ended preventing the trainers from proceeding to a similar exercise in Nakuru West.

“Those being trained were to conduct the nominations in Nakuru Town East and Nakuru Town West. Without them, the party’s national officials called off the exercise at 9 pm,” said Abiola.

Internal leadership wrangles and mistrust among party members had left the party divided with two sets of officials laying claim to county positions.

The party leadership in Nakuru started wrangling after the death of former ODM Nakuru County chairperson Peter Ole Osono on March 30, 2021, which was linked to Covid-19.

“The party leadership in all the 11 constituencies was agreed on. A middle ground wasn’t reached for the county level. This led to the emergence of two county factions,” said Abiola.

The party national office also closed the Nakuru county office to avert further fallout.

The Saturday Standard established that the factions sought to play an active part in the recruitment of the nomination officials leading to mistrust among aspirants on the credibility of the exercise.

“There was disquiet among the aspirants who felt that if the purported county officials had a say in the recruitment, the nominations would be skewed. The national office directed them to keep off the exercise,” he said.

Polling stations where the nominations were to take place remained deserted as aspirants continued to engage the electorates as they waited for the party to give further directions on the matter.