ODM nomination of Oimeke for Bonchari seat turns sour
The direct nomination of Engineer Robert Pavel Oimeke by the party’s top leadership to fly the Orange Democratic (Movement ODM) party flag in the Bonchari constituency by-election slated for May 18, has generated mixed reactions.
Oimeke, a former Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) Director General was nominated by the party, edging out John Billy Momanyi, a former banker and David Ogega, a former secondary school teacher, who had applied for nominations.
The party had vetted and cleared the trio for nominations but ODM National Elections Board, (NEB) chaired by Catherine Mumma disqualified Ogega on what it termed inconsistencies on his membership, leaving Oimeke and Momanyi.
ODM Deputy Party Leader and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the party settled on Oimeke as a consensus candidate after consultation with key leaders in Kisii.
On a graft case facing the ODM nominee, the party’s leadership said the constitution presumes one innocent until proven guilty.
“It is true that Pavel Oimeke has a corruption case in court. He has not been convicted.
One is barred from holding public office in a criminal case and they have exhausted their appeals” said a statement by Mumma.
Court of law
The board further says the party cannot convert itself to a court of law to determine the veracity of the corruption allegations, adding, by denying him a chance to compete because of a pending case will be akin to having passed a guilty verdict.
On Saturday, Momanyi, who is the second to quit the race after former Kisii South Knut Executive Secretary, Geoffrey Mogire said he made the decision after consulting the party leader, Raila Odinga.
But he said he would not support Oimeke and urged his supporters to elect visionary and wise leaders who will manage the National Government Constituency Development Fund ( NG-CDF) well to benefit them.
“My party loyalty has been tested and proved. I garnered 7000 votes in the last General-Election, which I were to start with during the mini-poll” Momanyi told People Daily on phone.
He claimed his rival has been in the party for three weeks, adding he was shocked and stressed with the party’s decision to pick him, terming it unfair.
Momanyi, who resigned as Energy, Water, Environment Executive Committee Member ( CEC) from Governor James Ongwae’s government said he will remain in the party but focus on his private business like farming.
“I was shortchanged. I have supported the party for long and I deserved to be given the ticket. I will try next time,” Momanyi stated.
Mogire, who is Agriculture Chief Officer in Governor Ongwae’s government, said he bowed out of the race after he realised that if elected, he will serve for only a year, terming it short.