KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 20 – Protests rocked the lakeside town of Kisumu and its environs to denounce an alleged announcement that Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s sister Ruth Adhiambo had won the ODM Kisumu gubernatorial nomination.
The demonstrations were simultaneous in Kisumu, Nyando and Maseno where roads leading to Kisumu town were blocked and transport paralysed.
At Kondele in Kisumu town, the demonstrators lit bonfires blocking the Kisumu-Kakamega road as police officers led by the Kondele police chief Johnston Wanyama watched from a distance.
“ODM headquarters should come and tell us how many votes Ruth got to be declared the winner,” said one of the demonstrators.
Ruth was ‘declared’ winner at the Tom Mboya Labour College hall by someone who now turns out was not the returning officer.
The demonstrators said there was a plot to rig out Jack Ranguma who was the frontrunner for the position.
Carrying banners saying “No Ranguma, No Raila” the demonstrators vowed not to let go the nomination to Ruth whom they have accused of using her brother’s name to clinch the party nomination.
The standoff comes barely a day after Siaya County residents staged demonstrations to protest against former Bondo MP Oburu Odinga who is an elder brother to the PM after he was announced the winner for the gubernatorial position there.
Later on Sunday afternoon, the National Elections Board (NEB) of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) sent a statement denying it had declared Ruth the winner of the polls.
“The board categorically states that it has not issued any information regarding the Kisumu gubernatorial contest and urges the residents of Kisumu to remain calm and maintain peace.”
The board said reports in the mainstream media and information trending on social media “should be treated as rumours and therefore urges the public to ignore them.”
“The board chairman and his entire team will issue a comprehensive statement later in the day which will also include news on the Kisumu County nominations exercise,” the statement concluded.