NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The Orange Democratic Movement’s National Elections Board (NEB) has postponed the first batch of grassroots elections scheduled for July 31 to August this year.
The elections will now be held between August 20 and September 2 in Marsabit, Wajir, Kajiado, Migori, Kilifi and Vihiga counties.
In Nairobi County, the exercise will be held from September 5 to 8.
According to Nancy Abisai, a member of the board, the elections were postponed at the request of members from Wajir, Marsabit and Kilifi counties who said they had not adequately conducted civic education to their members owing to Ramadhan.
“Members from the three counties requested to be given more time to carry out civic education and adequate preparations for the elections; we also received a request from our members from Vihiga,” she said.
Vihiga County requested a deferment owing to a cultural festival scheduled for August.
The second batch of elections for the remaining counties will be announced at a later date.
The board further lauded the huge interest and massive applications they had received from party members’ interested in various positions saying they were positive the elections would be free and fair.
The party also appealed for patience from their members particularly in Nairobi, Migori and Kajiado counties who were set for the elections, urging them to take the time recruit more members and popularise the party.
The party has embarked on ambitious member registration to ensure young people all get identity and voters cards in an attempt to clinch the 2017 elections.
The party has noted the importance of strengthening its presence in various counties particularly Western Kenya which has in recent weeks received a lot of attention from the Jubilee Government and which pundits say could be a strategy to woo the Western Kenya vote ahead of the 2017 General Election.
It will be the first time the party is holding elections since the botched primaries last year at the Kasarani indoor sports arena when men dressed in black overturned tables, smashed ballot boxes and destroyed election materials protesting over alleged malpractices.
The infamous ‘men in black’ had demanded to scrutinise the party register as they claimed individuals who were not registered delegates were planning to vote causing the elections to be cancelled.
The NEB has however stated that it would thoroughly vet all the candidates to establish that they are genuine members of the party so as to avoid infiltration that was blamed for the Kasarani mayhem; ODM party leader Raila Odinga had accused the ‘parties enemies’ for the chaos.
The party also intends to form a disputes resolution board that will resolve any tiffs emerging from the grass roots elections, but has insisted that the elections will be free, fair and transparent.