Aspirants ask for free and fair party nominations in Malindi by-election

Political aspirants and supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in Malindi have heightened their campaigns to woo voters’ support during the party nominations scheduled for January 18.

So far 12 aspirants have expressed interest in the ODM ticket and are expected to battle it out in what is seen as a do or die political contest.

Presently all the aspirants have been mobilizing resources in order to get high numbers that will enable them sail through during the nominations.

However, some aspirants are expressing fears that the top ODM leadership may be planning to impose a candidate upon them and are calling upon the Party leader, Raila Odinga, to send his machineries to ensure the exercise will be free and fair for all in Malindi.

Those who spoke to the media stated there was need for a popular candidate to be nominated to battle it out with the Jubilee candidate so as to ensure the ODM party does not disappoint its huge supporters on the ground.

Willy Mtengo, an aspirant seeking the ODM ticket and a close associate of Governor, Amason Kingi of Kilifi, observed that there were several aspirants who were already chest thumping that they would win the nominations in any manner.

Speaking shortly after he was endorsed by Mijikenda elders and representatives of all communities living in Malindi, who have been conducting a vetting exercise to address the suitability of candidates in serving the interests of residents of Kilifi, Mtengo called for peaceful and just nominations.

Mtengo stated that he did not believe in party hopping if a candidate did not qualify for a party ticket but instead promised to support whoever would win the nominations as he was not about to move from ODM.

“People have been spreading rumors that I will not be in the race, let the other 10 aspirants come on board and we all go for the nominations. I will support whoever wins,’’ he said.

Sanga Barawa, also seeking the ODM ticket and seen as a likely candidate due to his huge campaigns stated that he would be the flag bearer of ODM in the by-elections as he had the support from all groups including youths, women and men.

The 30 year old Malindi businessman stated confidently that once elected as legislator, Malindi residents would get the services they had missed for over 50 years since independence.

“In ODM we are over 12 candidates, this is a clear indication that the party is popular here and the battle for the ticket will be tough, ’’ Barawa stated confidently.

Johnson Banzi, another aspirant and businessman in Malindi stated that it was important that candidates have the support of the public instead of being pushed to serve the interests of a select number of individuals.

“Why should leaders be imposed on the people? The residents of Malindi know who they want to represent their interests. It is important that the ODM nominations are free and fair from outside interference, let the people decide,” Banzi said Thursday.

Meanwhile, a group of ODM supporters Thursday demonstrated outside the Malindi branch offices calling for fairness, justice and transparency in the nomination exercise.

Bearing placards and chanting ODM slogans, the supporters have told Raila Odinga to leave the people of Malindi alone to decide their candidate of choice instead of supporting a person who was unpopular in the hearts of the people.

Mama Rehema Ali, stated that nominations ought to be conducted in a free and fair manner as these reflected the democratic right of the people.

“As ODM supporters we want the nominations to be free and fair, we don’t want people to be brought here by the ODM leadership. I am sure we as the people of Malindi can decide on who we want to lead us,” she said.

Albert Ruwa from Shella ward has told ODM brigade including party Secretary General, Ababu Namwamba and Mombasa Governor, Ali Hassan Joho to desist from supporting a candidate of their choice as doing so would cost the party local support.

By Irene Agum