, NAIROBI Kenya, Feb 28 – The Orange Democratic Movement party elections aborted on Friday after a group of delegates led by nominated Member of Parliament Isaac Mwaura 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.
Soon after the chaos started, CORD leader Raila Odinga, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and other VIPs were quickly whisked out of the venue.
Attempts by the outgoing Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o to restore order were ignored.
“Let’s have some order here… I appeal that you may be calm. I plead with please; Seat down so that we can talk,” he could be heard saying. “Stop destroying property and behaving like that,” Nyong’o urged.
Mwaura later told journalists he was aggrieved by various malpractices.
“I’m simply saying there was election malpractice. I believe in Raila Odinga; I had a long conversation with him before and I told him to allow the election to be free and fair,” he stated.
He added that his discontent stemmed from the fact that “there was a preferred list, which was my problem… that is not justice.”
Before trouble started, Mwaura climbed on top of one of the tables, “to attract attention because people were ignoring me. I tried talking to them, no one even cared to explain what was happening.”
Mwaura was ‘rescued’ from an agitated team of security officers who were saying he “wants to destroy the party.”
But the men who ‘rescued’ him went ahead to destroy the ballot boxes and break tables.
There were cheers however as General Service Unit personnel stepped in to calm the situation.
Youths who were already baying for Mwaura’s blood ‘for destroying the party elections’ left immediately to avoid the wrath of the officers.
Nyong’o later said he had convened a National Governing Council meeting on Monday to decide when the party will hold elections at the earliest opportunity.
Odinga then blamed the violence on “enemies of the party.”
He said that the matter was being investigated to determine the cause.
He managed to crack a joke saying: “Those men were smartly dressed, and we never knew they were mafias.”
Earlier in the day, Mombasa delegates walked out of the hall after a proposal to amend the party Constitution was adopted.
The group was against increasing party slots and only agreed to return into the hall after persuasion by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.
In the morning, the security was tight around and inside the stadium; with only registered delegates being allowed to access the Gymnasium.
A section of delegates had accused their regional leaders of removing their names from the list of those accredited to participate during the party’s 3rd National Delegate Convention.
Some delegate argued that their names were replaced by those favouring various candidates.
Rose Kivoi a delegate from Mwatate, Taita Taveta County told Capital FM News that her name was, “there all along but it is not there today. I have always been a faithful ODM supporter, but see what they have done to me.”
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