Prof. Olweny’s candidature sparks protests in Muhoroni

A section of Muhoroni residents on Saturday took to the streets in protest of the High Court ruling that declared Prof Ayiecho Olweny the Orange Democratic Movement Party nominee and stripped area MP James K’Oyoo of the candidacy.

The demonstration was a culmination of tension that had been building across the constituency following the Wednesday ruling that saw the court cancel K’Oyoo’s nomination certificate already forwarded to IEBC and directed the Orange party to issue the ODM certificate to his arch-rival Prof. Olweny.

In her ruling, Lady Justice Jessie Lesiet, said the court tabulated the results and established that Prof. Olweny had won the primaries by garnering 23, 578 votes against the incumbent’s 13,700 votes.

The same Judge had in a previous ruling upheld K’Oyoo’s candidature after she set aside an appeal lodged by Prof. Olweny on grounds that the suit lacked merit and declared K’Oyoo the validly elected ODM nominee with 18, 669 votes against Ayiecho’s 6,648 votes .

The last verdict saw K’Oyoo’s irate supporters march within Chemelil market chanting ‘No Koyoo, No Voting!’ among other pro-K’Oyoo slogans as others fired salvos blaming the ODM leadership for the shambolic party primaries and woes surrounding the constituency’s ODM flag bearer.

The Muhoroni ODM candidature tussle has seemingly come full circle with the initial two attempts to resolve the dispute both at the Party’s’ Dispute Tribunal and the High Court going in favour of K’Oyoo before the same court made the U-turn and reversed an earlier ruling.

If we must vote on the August 8 polls minus K’Oyoos name on the ballot then the ODM brigades prepare for the mother of all protest votes like never witnessed in this country, quipped Abdalla Otieno, a resident adding that they would rather vote for Jubilee party than support Ayiecho’s candidature

They accused Olweny of refusing to accept defeat and causing instability in the constituency so as to cling to power

Muhoroni has experienced quite a genial political environment during K’Oyoo’s regime which is in contrast to the hooliganism that had become synonymous with the constituency in the past, noted Margaret Aoko, a voter in Muhoroni

When contacted, Olweny, however dismissed the allegations as far-fetched and maintained that the court ruling now takes precedence in the matter.

The former legislator at the same remained cagey whether he had obtained the nomination certificate from ODM declaring him the party’s nominee as directed by the courts.

He further alleged frustrations by the local IEBC officials whom he accused of delaying his clearance after he disclosed that the officers were out of the office on the two occasions that he had gone to present his papers.

It is however not only the ODM supporters who are getting weary of the ODM nominations fiasco now turned cat and mouse game, the party’s shambolic primaries has also triggered a heated debate bordering on the legitimacy of conducting party primaries.

This has seen some pundits propose radical changes to the already amended Electoral Laws of 2016.

I think there is need to do away with party primaries altogether and let serious Kenyans who aspire to be leaders face it off at the ballot, suggested Joel Odongo, Chairman of the Kisumu Kenya African National Union (KANU) party.

The Muhoroni voters have since issued an ultimatum to party leader Raila Odinga to forget their support if K’Oyoo is excluded from the August polls.

We are appealing to party leader Raila Odinga to talk to his close confidante Prof Olweny and impress him to respect the wishes of the Muhoroni voters, if he (Raila) is really interested in the votes of Muhoroni people, said George Oluoch, a local opinion leader.

Source: Kenya News Agency