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ELECTION 2022

Technical hitches mar start of ODM nominations in Siaya county

POLITICS
By Harold Odhiambo | Apr 13th 2022 | 3 min read
A voter during the casting of votes during ODM nominations at Bar Kowino Primary school in Bondo Constituency, Siaya County on April 13, 2022. [Collins Oduor]

 

The much-awaited ODM nominations in the county of Siaya were delayed for hours after the electronic gadgets used to conduct the exercise failed to work as a result of network failure.

Some supporters of the Orange party who had turned up for the exercise as early as 6 am on Wednesday were forced to spend hours at various polling stations waiting for the gadgets to work.

By 10 am, polling stations were yet to start the exercise as polling clerks struggled to solve the mess.

In an exercise expected to send a signal of the resolve by the region to end voter apathy, a low turnout was registered in almost all the polling stations.

Only a handful of supporters turned up for the exercise with some leaving the polling stations after waiting for hours for the exercise to kick off.

At Barkowino Primary in Bondo, voting was yet to start by 10 am.

Voters' optimism

Patient supporters told Standard Digital that they would wait for the party to resolve the network issue and were expecting a free and fair exercise.

A section of the voters who took part in the ODM nomination exercise in Siaya County on April 13, 2022. [Olivia Odhiambo] 

 

 Fredrick Otieno, an ODM faithful said he was at the polling station by 5 am and was optimistic about casting his vote.

"We have been told there are hitches with the gadgets and we have to wait. However, we are keen to participate in the exercise," said Otieno.

At the polling station, a number of supporters including elderly women sat quietly and patiently as they waited for the start of the exercise.

Florence Opiyo, a grandmother, said she has participated in three ODM nominations adding that she was optimistic the exercise would help the party settle on the right aspirants to fly its ticket.

"My heart beats for ODM and that is why I came to cast my vote at 6 am," she said.

Although she was among a group of supporters of the party who were forced to wait for hours for the exercise to kick off, she expressed optimism about being able to cast her vote.

Direct tickets

The development came even as a few voices of dissent criticised the party for failing to conduct competitive primaries for all the elective seats.

In Siaya, the party was conducting nominations for Woman Representative, MP seats in Alego Usonga, Bondo and Gem as well as MCA seats.

Nominations for the seat of Governor and Senator were done and dusted after the party opted to hand Senator James Orengo and EALA MP Oburu Oginga direct tickets to contest the two seats respectively.

Another beneficiary of the direct tickets is MP Otiende Amollo of Rarieda constituency who was saved from the stressful universal suffrage adopted by the party in some regions.

In all the three constituencies where nominations for MP aspirants to fly the Orange ticket took place, titanic contests were expected after the races attracted a number of politicians.

Voters cast their votes at Siaya Prisons polling station in Alego Usonga, Siaya County on April 13, 2022. [Olivia Odhiambo]

 

In Bondo, MP Gideon Ochanda was hoping to trounce four other aspirants who trained their eyes on unseating him.

They include Andiwo Mwai, Andiwo Obondo, Linette Olima and Rachel Omollo, who had sustained grassroots mobilisation ahead of the nominations.

In Alego Usonga, incumbent Samuel Atandi is hoping to convince ODM to trust him with another chance to fly the party's ticket and deliver the seat to the party.

He however faces stiff competition from Jacqueline Oduol and Dr Kut Ochogo.

In Gem, former MP Jakoyo Midiwo's brother Jalang'o Midiwo has promised incumbent Elisha Odhiambo a run for his money in the party primaries.

Unlike in the past when the party relied on physical ballot papers, the party has adopted a different strategy grounded on paperless electronic voting.

The move is part of the efforts the party has adopted to ensure that the process is free and fair.

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