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ODM Kisii ward aspirant killed three days to party primaries

 Thomas Okari. He died at a private hospital after sustaining a cut in the head. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Nairobi-based businessman Thomas Okari, who travelled to Kisii to participate in the ODM primaries set for April 7 has been killed.

Okari, 38, suffered a cut in the head and succumbed to the injuries at a private hospital in Kisii town on Monday morning.

His nephew Mr Daniel Mayaka, who lived at his Bombaba home in Bomachoge Borabu, told The Standard that Okari arrived home at around 11pm, and went straight to his bedroom.

Mr Mayaka said Okari's killers might have entered the house through the backdoor and attacked him using a machete. Okari’s distress calls attracted the attention of Mayaka, who on getting to the businessman’s room found him lying in a pool of blood.

He said he sought help to take Okari to Oasis Specialist Hospital in Kisii, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

It remains unclear what the motive of Okari’s attack was, though his family suspects his participation in politics could have played a role. Police said they had launched investigations into the killing.

"We have visited the scene and launched investigations into the killing. Definitely we will apprehend all those who were behind such inhuman act,” said Lina Kabaila, the Kisii County Criminal Investigation Officer.

Dagoreti North MP Mr Simba Arati called for speedy investigations into the incident. “I had warned of insecurity several weeks ago, but was dismissed. Police must track down the killers and assure the family of justice,” he said.

"The National Intelligence Service (NIS) should move to Kisii County with speed and investigate threats on the ground before we lose more lives. Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka was poisoned, but no action has been taken to date. Police also need to act faster," he said.

Various ODM aspirants who later addressed the media on the latest happenings called on the party’s National Election Board to postpone the Thursday primaries, citing insecurity and unpreparedness.

Nominated MCA Mrs Risper Maseme, who is seeking the ODM party ticket for the Nyaribari Masaba Constituency, said the party should consider postponing the primaries due to "inconsistencies".

“The death of the Bombaba aspirant is a clear warning that things are not right. We just received the party members register on Sunday night, which is not conclusive,” she said.

She said the list was not a true reflection of the ODM membership locally. “It is not possible that we can have a list of delegates totalling more than 90 per cent of the voters in the constituency,” Mrs Maseme added.

She added: “We are not assured of our security. We have held two meetings and agreed that the party employs consensus as well as opinion polls in issuing tickets for its aspirants. NEB should respect that decision.”

Mr Samuel Omwando, a Kitutu Chache South ODM aspirant, said the party should consider Kisii a hotspot and postpone the primaries until a consensus is reached.

“The inconsistency and utterances by some ODM officials are weakening the party at the grassroots. We have aspirants who have received tickets, yet an official of the party purportedly cancelled the same. We need more time to scrutinize the party register that was only made available to us on Sunday evening,” said Mr Omwando.

Mr Samuel Onukho said subjecting current ODM MCAs to the nomination was ill-advised. “We are going to lose strong candidates because of mistreatment and frustration from the National Election Board. We may be forced to join other parties and run as independent if the party will not convince us that they will hold free and fair nominations,” he said.

The Boochi Borabu MCA said in 2017 he was denied the ODM ticket but chose to vie as an independent candidate after which he won the seat.