How ODM ‘dirty tricks’ cost Cornel Rasanga seat

KENYA: Campaign intrigues ahead of March 4 polls cost Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga his seat last week.

The political machinations were spearheaded by a group dubbed ‘ODM Brigade’.

Last week the High Court in Kisumu ruled the machinations did not give Rasanga’s opponent William Oduol a chance to have a free and fair election. “The ODM machine ran a dirty campaign during the gubernatorial election in Siaya County. Everything was done to depict the petitioner (Oduol) as a candidate who was running against the grain.

The elections were constantly bombarded with malicious propaganda against him,” Justice Aggrey Muchelule said.

On Sunday, Siaya Senator James Orengo revealed leaders in the county were planning to meet to discuss what went wrong and how they would conduct a by-election when called.

Orengo also said the meeting would come up with a solution on whom to manage the governor’s office that was left vacant following Justice Muchelule’s decision that sent Rasanga home.

“This is a matter we have talked in Siaya and legal provisions must be read out carefully. In law, you can never have a vacuum,” he said.

Orengo, Jakoyo Midiwo (MP, Gem), Oburu Odinga (nominated MP) and Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka have been blamed for Rasanga’s fate.

Propaganda

Orengo and Midiwo, who were adversely mentioned in the petition, did not swear affidavits or testify in the matter despite the Siaya senator having attended several sessions in the court.

According to evidence in court, the ODM brigade invaded Oduol’s rally at Luthehe market where they used propaganda to malign him. Odoul had defected to National Agenda Party of Kenya following a flawed ODM party nomination exercise.

In the incident, Oduol was addressing a rally at the market in Ugenya constituency when the convoy in the presence of Rasanga and area MP David Ochieng’ arrived.

The ODM team was more powerful than Oduol’s, forcing him to cut short his rally and leave the market. The court observed the disruption of the rally amounted to an offence under the Elections Act.

Arrested for poll crime

Circulation of posters bearing Oduol’s portrait with that of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto affected the petitioner’s candidature in the race, the court noted.

The posters were circulated in Gem, Alego Usonga and Ugenya constituencies on the eve of the polls, a move that saw a number of people arrested by police.

Following the incident, Joseph Onyango and Peter Awuondah were arrested and charged before Senior Principal Magistrate’s court.

Court records show Onyango pleaded guilty to the charge. He was convicted and sent to jail for three years if he failed to pay a fine of Sh250,000. Awuondah denied the charge.

“I find it proved to my satisfaction that people who were against the candidature of the petitioner forged his photo on which they superimposed the portraits of Uhuru and Ruto,” Justice Muchelule said.

The judge further ruled that to be depicted as supporting Jubilee coalition in Siaya County affected Oduol’s candidature.-standardmedia.co.ke

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