Daggers drawn as two ODM camps face each other


Campaigns for the leadership of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) intensify this weekend as a section of aspirants said to be preferred by party leader Raila Odinga unveiled themselves and vowed they will win as a team.

Senators Agnes Zani, Otieno Kajwang’ and MPs Denitah Ghati, Timothy Bosire, Abdikadir Aden and former Mayor George Aladwa, speaking on behalf of the team that has caused jitters within the ODM fraternity, said they carry the dream of the ODM members that will deliver the presidency in 2017 elections. “We carry the banner to entrench a leadership that is not loyal to an individual but one entrenched in what ODM is committed to and stands for,” said Ms Zani, who read the declaration.

The team warned its rivals of a bruising political battle saying those who will be elected should be true loyalists who can work together to deliver the ‘ODM’ that has eluded them in two consecutive elections. “We are not ready to hand over this party to our competitors whose loyalty to the party ideals is in question. Our next step will be to consolidate and strengthen the supports of the party that withstood the tides of losing two elections in a row, to emerge as the strongest movement in the region,” Mr Kajwang’ declared.

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He said loyalty, faithfulness and fidelity to the party would be the guiding principles that the delegates will be looking at when they finally meet to usher in fresh leadership for the party. They hit out at a section of legislators from Luo-Nyanza who quit the race for party leadership saying they were agents of anti-ODM forces keen on installing a weaker leadership.

“We cannot preside over a disintegrating election, just because of a few individuals calling themselves Kalamusi. We want to stand firm and declare that ODM will emerge stronger after the polls, as nowhere is it written that to be faithful to the party you have to be a Luo, that is the biggest joke,” Kajwang’ said. The group unveiled 20 thematic areas to address if elected to office among them strategy to prepare for the 2017 General Election, including increasing membership and streamlining party nominations to ensure that the process was transparent and credible.

Gunned for positions The unveiling of the ‘ODM DREAM TEAM’ heightened tension and precipitated the battle into a two-sided contest pitting them against another line-up allied to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.

Daggers are now drawn as the two camps promise an exciting political battle. The ‘Dream Team’ is gunning up for different seats for various aspirants. Funyula MP Paul Otuoma (chairman), Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ (deputy vice chairman), nominated Senator Agnes Zani (secretary general), Larry Gumbe (deputy secretary general), Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire (treasurer) and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya for the deputy party leader’s position.

Others are former Nairobi mayor George Aladwa (organising secretary) Rahab Robi (deputy national treasurer), Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua (deputy organising secretary), and Migori Woman Representative Denitah Ghati for secretary for publicity and information. After the press conference at Hotel Boulevard in Nairobi, the group headed for campaigns in Western Kenya today, before proceeding to Nyanza for a series of meetings to woo delegates. “We are satisfied with the reactions we are receiving so far, as we continue meeting delegates across the country and I am confident that they will arise to the occasion and entrust the leadership of this party in individuals with integrity, loyalty and commitment to serve members,” Dr Otuoma said.

Another camp is led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (deputy party leader), Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok (chairman), Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba (secretary General) Bomachoge Chache MP Simon Ogari (treasurer), Eldas MP Adan Keynan (deputy chairperson) and former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo for organising secretary. The team will hold joint campaigns in Nakuru before proceeding to Mombasa tomorrow where Mr Joho will host them for the first time in what has been hyped to be a Coast Declaration in a meeting likely to change the perception of the region’s political direction.

Consensus Also in the group is nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro also running for the secretary general post but now expected to build consensus with Namwamba to have one of them run for the same position in the February 28 and March 1, National Delegates Congress. Joho, the emerging coast power broker, is said to be in opposition of a plan by the ODM party leadership to front Zani, a perceived political greenhorn up for an influential party position that would elevate her standing in the region’s political hierarchy. The need to ensure regional balance for the party’s top seats, The Standard on Saturday can reveal, forced ODM’s top leadership to shift allegiance to Mr Oparanya to eliminate Joho and pave the way for Zani at the coast. Joho was said by commentators not have been impressed by the decision to front Zani. The formula also targeted to push aside the candidature of Mr Namwamba for secretary general from Western region.

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