‘Bishop Margaret Wanjiru still a member of ODM,’ says Raila
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked aspiring candidates holding party positions in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party to resign the party positions within one month to create a level playing ground during party nominations.
The PM who is the ODM party leader said the party was committed to a free, fair and transparent nomination noting this will require the current party officials to resign from their positions so that they don’t use those positions to influence the outcome of the nominations.
The PM was speaking at the Nyayo National stadium Friday when he addressed aspiring candidates for various seats on an ODM ticket in the forthcoming elections and later ODM delegates from Nairobi County.
Mr. Odinga at the same time criticized greed among some aspiring candidates whom he said were forcing their candidature on the people, and cautioned them that they risked being rejected at the polls.
He made it clear that party nominations were free for anyone ready to stand for elective positions adding that the party had no preferred candidates and that there would be direct nominations.
Emphasizing that it was only registered members who will be allowed to participate in the nominations, Mr. Odinga said registration of party members was ongoing adding those who want to take part in the ODM nominations should register now.
Mr. Odinga at the same time called sobriety in the party as the country heads towards the general election. He cautioned against use of abrasive language including chasing away members from the party or discouraging new members from joining the party.
He said, "Party nominations are not war, they must be conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner befitting our party and added, lets fight with our votes not physically those who loose in the party nominations will be given other positions in an ODM government."
He said it was in this regard that the ODM electoral board was constituted recently under Dr. Kathurima to carry out democratic nominations throughout the country.
Alluding to last year’s party elections, Mr. Odinga conceded that there were some hiccups in some branches but said the party had moved with haste to address the issues.
"We have sealed all leakages and the party is as strong as ever.
Mr. Odinga also dismissed press reports that the MP for Starehe and an assistant Minister for Housing Bishop Margaret Wanjiru had defected to other parties, saying as far as he knows Bishop Wanjiru was still a member of ODM.
"She has personally assured me that she is a member of our party, let us not engage in unnecessary speculation about this issue," he added.
Once again the PM hit out at those who were suggesting that as a co principal in the coalition government he should retire with President Kibaki after the term of the coalition government ends saying he still had uncompleted work to do for Kenyans.
The PM also lauded the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for capturing the port of Kismayu in Somalia saying the soldiers had done the country proud.
Elsewhere, the PM has promised to promote national unity by offering leadership that eliminates ethnic fears, anxieties and suspicions if elected president.
The PM said that he would treat every part of the country fairly without any kind of favoritism so that Kenyans are proud of their ethnic diversity, a move he added will make communities trust each other.
Speaking during a fundraising dinner for Friends of Raila (Fora) at the Crowne Plaza on Thursday, the PM stated that Kenyans deserve a caring and accountable leadership .Odinga stated that the people of Kenya have been served a raw deal since independence leading to a lot inequality in the society.
"It is the mediocrity with which this country was led since independence that is responsible for our backwardness”, he posed.
He blamed the emergence of secessionist groups like Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) to bad leadership and divisive politics that the country has had in the past.
The Premier pointed out the Kenyans need a leadership that will make the country a place where all individuals and communities feel at home, with security in the present and hope for the future.