ODM defends Otieno Kajwang’ nomination

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Otieno Kajwang+ODMOrange Democratic Movement Secretary-General Ababu Namwamba on Thursday told a Nairobi court that due process was followed in the nomination of Otieno Kajwang’ for the Senate ahead of the 2013 General Election.

Mr Namwamba made the statement during the hearing of an appeal case that seeks to prevent the party from participating in the February 12 by-election.

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Mr Namwamba said Mr Kajwang’, who died on November 18, 2014, was validly nominated and he met all constitutional requirements before he successfully contested the seat on the party’s ticket.

While defending the direct nomination of the late senator’s brother Moses Kajwang’ in court documents, he added that the fact that the suit by activist Isaac Aluoch had been brought up nearly two years after Otieno Kajwang’ had been elected showed it was not in good faith.

“The late senator was exhaustively vetted to confirm that he met all the requisite requirements contested and upon being duly satisfied that he met (these), he was therefore awarded the party ticket to vie,” said Mr Namwamba.

Lawyers Samuel Makori, for the party, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s Edwin Mukele requested High Court judge Weldon Korir to dismiss the appeal with costs just like a tribunal had ruled.

WAS A PUBLIC OFFICER

Mr Aluoch had earlier moved to the IEBC tribunal wanting ODM penalised and barred from nominating Moses Kajwang’ as their candidate.

He claimed that ODM and the IEBC wrongly allowed Otieno Kajwang’ to stand in 2013 yet he was a public officer, but the tribunal had dismissed his petition, forcing him to take his protests to the High Court.

Although he lost, he wanted the tribunal to penalize ODM, which he alleged had breached election rules and the Constitution prior to the 2013 poll.

However, Mr Makori argued that both the Constitution and the Elections Act provided for transition mechanisms for those in ministerial positions hence no law was violated.

“It is very wrong to make allegations against one who cannot defend himself. The former senator is deceased so how does he respond?” asked Mr Makori.

NO COMPLAINT

Mr Mukele, for the IEBC, added that no inquiry or complaint had been made before Otieno Kajwang’ died in a bid to have him disqualified, and therefore preventing ODM from nominating a candidate now would be an offense.

Mr Alouch insisted that the party had flouted the Elections Act of 2011 and Section 72 of the Constitution when it nominated Otieno Kajwang’ to be its candidate for the Homa Bay Senate seat in the 2013 election while being aware that he was still a public officer.

Mr Kajwang’, who was the minister for Immigration and Registration of Persons in the Grand Coalition government, went on to win the seat, which he held until he died last year.

ODM gave Moses Kajwang’, the younger brother of Otieno Kajwang’, a direct nomination to vie for the seat in the by-election set for February 12.

A judgment will be made on March 11.

-nation.co.ke

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