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Crisis hits ODM after claims IT officers manipulated nominees list sent to IEBC

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses a youth meeting at the party's Orange House headquarters in Nairobi, March 28, 2017. /JACK OWUOR

A new crisis hit ODM over nominations just hours before the electoral commission closed submissions and gazetted a list of candidates.

Sources say fraud and forgery saw the party send a new list of nominees to the IEBC.

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More worrying is that Orange House says junior officers in the IT department colluded with the commission’s IT officers to substitute names, without the party’s blessings.

The changes, said to have been made in the dead of the night two days ago, affected Muhoroni, Nyatike, Nyakach and Kisumu East constituencies. Some wards across the country were also affected.

The changes are said to have been effected at the IEBC at 2 am on Wednesday.

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Orange House says they cannot trace the IT officer who altered the list and that he is the only one with the password.

But officials of the party led by NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga are said to be struggling to rectify the situation.

Questions have been raised on how a junior officer could have effected the changes without instructions from executive director Oduor Ong’wen, National Elections Board chairperson Judith Pareno or secretary general Agnes Zani.

The management of the office is now on the spot and there are fears that senior officers at ODM headquarters are using their juniors to do their bidding.

Speaking to the Star on Friday, Ongwen said the list that was given to the IEBC stands.

“Pareno issued a statement…the list stands. But if anyone, whether a senior or junior officer, tried to manipulate the list, they will be dealt with.”

Zani did not answer calls for comment on the matter but the NEB said it had received queries regarding the nominees list.

“We wish to assure our members that, save for a number of adjustments consequent to NEC resolutions, appeal outcomes and some nominees having opted to run as independent candidates, the list remains as extracted from returning officers’ reports,” Pareno said in a statement on Friday.

Reached for comment by phone, IEBC communications manager Andrew Limo noted parties were given until last Sunday to make changes to their lists.

“The only changes we can effect are rulings by the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal or courts,” Limo said. “We have records of what we change…we will shortly gazette all names. Anyone with concerns should raise them formally.”

A number of ODM nominees are held up in court following chaotic primaries close to a month ago.

It has been said the party failed to field candidates in a number of places because of shambolic nominations and its ‘ever-changing’ lists.

Nyakach, Muhoroni, Nyando and Kisumu East lists have been changed several times as the clock ticks.

In the case of Muhoroni, incumbent Onyango Koyoo held a meeting with Raila on Thursday morning and was confirmed the nominee.

Former secretary general Anyang’ Nyong’o, who is Kisumu Senator and governor nominee, has expressed concern that the situation will cost the party dearly. He was also unavailable for comment.

Last Friday, Raila moved to forestall a possible fall out within ODM Nairobi amid claims of rigging at the primaries.

The Opposition chief met all aspirants for city posts to woo them into supporting his party’s candidates.

He acknowledged challenges, which he blamed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party for, but encouraged “healing”, “moving on” and supporting ODM nominees.

But trouble is also brewing in Bungoma, where officials of Senator Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya party want ODM aspirants to quit races for them as Raila is flag bearer.

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