BUSIA, Kenya, Apr 13 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party primaries were delayed across polling centers in Busia County.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong who is seeking to defend his seat through the party expressed his frustration at the delay, saying it was regrettable that the exercise had been delayed despite candidates offering to support the party financially and logistically.
“As I called people at around 5am, no polling station had received polling papers but the facilitation had been done 100 per cent to ensure by 6 am the voting process had started,” Ojaamong said Thursday morning.
Ojaamong faulted the party for failing to offer an explanation for the delay, terming the actions of officials meant to facilitate the exercise as amounting to a mockery to democracy.
“If by now (8.30am) we have not voted and people came as early as 6am it is a mockery of democracy. We don’t even have a presiding officer and no explanation has been given to candidates. It is terrible!,” he lamented.
The Busia County chief dismissed allegations that he was behind leaflets being distributed locally alluding that his competitor Funyula Member of Parliament Paul Otuoma had defected to the Jubilee Party saying the legislator is being sponsored by Jubilee.
“There’s foolproof evidence that Otuoma is using Jubilee people to campaign for himself. Jubilee MPs are campaigning for him all over the county and there’s nothing to hide,” the governor alleged.
Ojaamong told the media that he was confident that he would win the primaries against Otuoma saying that his (Otuoma’s) participation in the primaries would be to ‘regularize the exercise’.
We’re fattening him (Otuoma) for slaughter because even the ODM party leader knows that he gets funding from Jubilee, claimed Ojaamong who declined to confirm or decline he was behind the distribution of printouts suggesting that Otuoma had defected.
Otuoma later accused Ojaamong of spreading propaganda against him saying that county officials were seen distributing fake newspaper publications intended to malign him.
“I hope the voting material has been properly secured so that we do not have ballot staffing,” Otuoma told the press while reacting to a fake newspaper publication doing rounds with the headline “Otuoma Defects to Jubilee Party”.
Otuoma who is was ODM’s Vice Chair had in July 2016 resigned from the Orange party alongside former party Secretary General Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi MP) but later changed heart and moved back to ODM in a public function attended by party leader Raila Odinga.
Namwamba later moved to the Labour Party where he was named party leader.
ODM is also holding primaries in Machakos and Bungoma counties.