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ODM top dogs grilled over electoral violence

Top leaders from Orange Democratic Movement have been grilled by the party’s disciplinary committee over the violence that have rocked the party recently.

The leaders, 16 in total, were summoned by the ODM disciplinary committee last week on Friday after recent chaos and violence witnessed during campaigns in Ruaraka and Mathare in Nairobi County, Migori County and Busia County.

Those questioned included three governors, three senators, three Members of Parliament (MPs), a member of county assembly among other aspirants.

The three governors were Mombasa County Governor and deputy party leader Ali Hassan Joho, Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamoong’.

The senators were Kisumu Senator Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Siaya Senator James Orengo and nominated Senator Ms Elizabeth Ongoro. The MPs were Ruaraka Constituency MP TJ Kajwang, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma.

Others were former MP and Migori County governorship aspirant Ochilo Ayacko, Suna East parliamentary seat aspirant and former MP John Pesa, MCA Ochola, Abel Osumba Atito, Peter Owera, Anthony Oluoch, and Philip Makabongo.

METE PUNISHMENTS

Addressing the media at Mash Park hotel in Nairobi on Monday, chair of the committee Fred Athuok said that the committee would not hesitate to mete punishments such as expulsion, reprimanding, fining, suspension or any other action deemed fit after the exercise for members found culpable or perpetrating any violent incidents.

“We are sending stern warning to party members out there campaigning and their supporters that if you misbehave during your preferred candidates’ campaign or disrupt another candidate’s function in the name of your candidate, you will be spoiling for your contestant as we will not hesitate to deal with the candidates themselves as they are the ones who stand to benefit from their supporters’ misdeeds,” said Mr Athuok.

He said that the party had sent out monitors who will be recording and taking evidence on the conducts of members to ensure the nominations were conducted in a peaceful environment.

The chair added that the report of the committee would be ready by tomorrow (Tuesday) as they would have the hearings until late into the night.

STABBED TO DEATH

The first to face the committee was Ms Ongoro who distanced herself from the violence that characterized a campaign in Ruaraka Constituency where one person was stabbed to death instead accusing her political nemesis and the area MP Mr Kajwang’ of being behind the goons who disrupted the campaign.

Next to appear before the committee was Mr Kajwang who alleged that goons were hired to cause chaos appointing accusing fingers to Ms Ongoro accusing her of using unconventional ways to gain leadership.

“There are better ways of getting into office but the only way is to go to the people and get elected and not taking cases to the press,” said Kajwang’ while addressing the press after being questioned.

Governor Ojamoong’ absolved himself and his supporters from the violence that rocked Busia on Saturday instead saying that his supporters were the one under attack from his opponents.

“There was misinformation that I was equally engaged in violence like other candidates. The violence being meted on the people was not from my group but my people were the victims of the violence. I have brought the evidence of my people being attacked,” said Ojamoong’.

UNDER ATTACK

Governor Obado, on his part, said that he played no part in the violence witnessed in Migori saying that he was in fact under attack from stones being pelted by supporters of his opponent.

“I have never been violent in all my campaigns and I will never associate myself with any form of violence,” said Obado while calling for senior party officials to stop taking sides or be seen as endorsing particular candidates.

Joho called for speedy resolution of the issue at hand expressing confidence that the process would act as a deterrent to party members who would like to employ unorthodox means to emerge triumphant in the primaries.

“This should be a warning to the entire ODM fraternity that violence will not be tolerated and if you dare take that route, there will be a price to pay,” said Joho.

Senator Orengo praised the party for taking the bold step saying that it is the only party that has an active disciplinary mechanism to rein over errant members.