, KAJIADO, Kenya, Jan 29 – “It’s been so peaceful, it is like we are in church” were the words a security chief was overheard telling his colleague when the ODM nomination in Kajiado Central came to a calm end on Wednesday.
For a party that introduced the country’s political scene to the Men-In-Black and kicking of ballot boxes as though one was trying to make a conversion in a rugby match, it was surprisingly refreshing to see the exercise end with no incident and the main agenda of the day – conducting polls – achieved.
ODM leaders Ababu Namwamba, Junet Mohammed and Judy Pareno were full of praise over the manner which the party managed the exercise to break the jinx of having botched and often chaotic elections.
“I am proud to be the Secretary-General of the party; today marks the dawn where we open a new chapter where we will observe the tenets of democracy,” said Namwamba.
Mohammed added: “There are those who went around the country saying there will be chaos… that this nomination won’t happen. But look at us, we have done a peaceful process. You have not even heard that a fly was hurt.”
The Orange Democratic Movement national party elections aborted last year after a group of delegates caused mayhem at the Kasarani Sports Gymnasium.
Trouble started when men dressed in black suits overturned tables, smashed ballot boxes and destroyed election materials, insisting that the polls could not proceed unless they were furnished with party registers.
The ODM nomination for the Homa Bay senatorial seat also aborted after a group of youths destroyed ballot boxes as the exercise was about to kick off at the County Assembly grounds.
Candidates were forced to scamper for safety in Homa Bay as police fired in the air to disperse the rowdy crowd following complaints that non-bonafide delegates had been ferried to vote.
In a shift from the norm, ODM Party officials led their supporters in applauding Kajiado county security officers for their role in ensuring that there was adequate security in all 50 polling centres.
The polls were earlier in the day characterised by reports of irregularities as three candidates vowed to reject the result if it was in favour of Elijah Memusi.
But Namwamba and Memusi both extended an olive branch to their party colleagues with the Swahili saying; ‘asiyekubali kushindwa si mshindani’.
Namwamba urged the trio to work with Memusi for the benefit of Kajiado residents and implored the victor to go the extra step to accommodate his competitors.