Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro arrives at Mash Park Hotel on April 10, 2017 for questioning by ODM Disciplinary Committee over violence. Those found culpable might be expelled. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO |

Sixteen top ODM leaders were grilled by the disciplinary committee over the violence that have rocked the party recently.

The leaders were summoned by ODM’s disciplinary committee last week on Friday after chaos and violence witnessed during campaigns in Ruaraka and Mathare in Nairobi as well as Migori and Busia counties.

Those interrogated included three governors, three senators, three MPs, a member of county assembly among other aspirants.

The governors were Mombasa’s Ali Hassan Joho, who is also deputy party leader, Migori’s Okoth Obado and Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong.

The senators were Kisumu’s Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Siaya’s James Orengo and nominated Elizabeth Ongoro.

The MPs were Ruaraka’s TJ Kajwang, Suna East’s Junet Mohammed and Funyula’s Paul Otuoma.

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

Addressing the media at Mash Park Hotel in Nairobi on Monday, chairman of the disciplinary committee, Mr Fred Athuok, said that the team would not hesitate to mete out punishments such as expulsions, fines, suspensions or any other action deemed fit for members found culpable of perpetrating any violence.

“We are sending a 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,” Mr Athuok said.

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

The chairman added that the report of the committee would be ready by today as they would have the hearings until late into the night.

The first to face the committee was Ms Ongoro who distanced herself from the violence that characterized a campaign in Ruaraka where one person was stabbed to death.

She instead accused her political nemesis and area MP Kajwang of being behind the goons who disrupted the campaign.

Next was Mr Kajwang who alleged that goons were hired to cause chaos pointing an accusing finger at Ms Ongoro.

“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,” the MP said when he addressed the press after being interrogated.

ODM’s disciplinary committee

A letter showing the leaders set to appear before ODM’s disciplinary committee. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Ojaamong absolved himself and his supporters of the violence that rocked Busia saying that his supporters were the ones under attack by his opponents.

Mr Obado, on his part, said that he played no part in the violence witnessed in Migori, saying that he was being pelted with stones by supporters of his opponent.

Mr Joho called for speedy resolution of the issue expressing confidence that the process would deter party members who would like to employ unorthodox means to win in the primaries.

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 in errant members.