, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – Grassroots elections for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) finally kicked off on Thursday morning, although not as trouble-free.
Logistical challenges were evident at various polling stations in Nairobi as the materials to be used in the exercise had not arrived at stations in time.
Ballot boxes for those who preferred secret ballot as the mode of electing officials were also not enough for all the positions at ward level.
A spot check by Capital News in Lang’ata constituency at the Sarah Ng’ombe Ward revealed that the election which started at about 11am was disrupted soon after it started amid protests of rigging.
One person was forcefully ejected from the voting hall by youths after he was found to have voted six times for one candidate.
The elections in Sarah Ng’ombe were momentarily halted as officials who did not want to speak on record tried to bring back order.
Simon Njuguna, an aspirant who spoke to Capital News said that the election was not planned well as there we not enough ballot boxes.
He however called on ODM members to conduct peaceful elections, expressing hope that the peoples will be manifest in the results of the polls.
“There is massive confusion in ballot boxes; people started voting when other boxes were not there like for the deputy chairman and treasurer, but we hope that all is sorted before day end,” he said.
“ODM is a party that has preached unity and peace and we do not want tension… all we want is for people to be peaceful. We should elect leaders, we don’t need leaders to be imposed on us,” he added.
In Harambee Ward of Makadara constituency elections were disrupted at 2pm, after only the women’s representative was elected.
The elections in Harambee Ward were conducted using the queuing method.
Supporters of the aggrieved aspiring chairman Omondi marched to the Jogoo Road Police station where the returning officer is said to have been taken.
It was however a futile march as the returning officer was secretly whisked from the station soon after recording a statement.
In Kisumu County, elections kicked off well without any hitches reported.
The county coordinator Samuel Ong’ou said that voting materials arrived in time for the poll in all centres of the six constituencies.
He says he visited almost half of the 247 voting centres and no problem had been reported.
Ong’ou, who spoke at the Kisumu Town West constituency ODM office, further said that a neutral returning officer was posted to Nyakach constituency to avoid the persistent holding of parallel elections.
Ong’ou affirmed that adequate security was put in place to ensure the election exercise is conducted in a smooth atmosphere.
The ODM party leadership is expected to take up a new face in most parts of the Rift Valley grassroots with the now open rebellion from members allied to Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
Former deputy party leader William Ruto, former Deputy Organising Secretary Benjamin Lang’at and former Vice-Chairman Aden Duale have indicated that they will not take part.
Other MPs who have associated themselves with the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and would not take part in ODM polls include – Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu), Joshua Kutuny (Cheranganyi), Zakayo Cheruiyot (Kuresoi), Lucas Kigen (Rongai), Sammy Mwaita (Baringo South), Charles Keter (Belgut), Moses Lessonet (Eldama Ravine) and David Koech (Mosop).