Raila strikes deal on ODM party elections

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ODM on Tuesday said it would proceed with its planned national elections despite opposition from some members.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, who is vying for the secretary-general’s position and other leaders, said they were satisfied with preparations and assurances that the polls would be free and fair.

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Party leader Raila Odinga led Mr Namwamba, Dr Agnes Zani, his strongest competitor for the seat, and other candidates in holding hands for a photo session in a show of unity.

At a meeting in Orange House, the candidates said they would remain in the party even if they lost in the February 28 elections. The delegates list is to be given to the candidates today.

In a statement read by outgoing secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o, the party accused Jubilee of wanting to balkanise the country through creation of regional parties.

Prof Nyong’o said Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who has called for postponement of the polls to avoid splitting the party, had not made a formal request.

“Among the assurances we have given our candidates is that the delegates or voters roll is sacred and will not be doctored. We will make it available to each county before elections,” Prof Nyong’o said.

Mr Odinga asked all the candidates to vie for the positions of their choice and let delegates decide.

In an earlier meeting, four top Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leaders in Parliament were spared the sack over allegations of poor performance.

Cord’s parliamentary group meeting at Orange House resolved that Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, his deputy Jakoyo Midiwo, Minority Whip Gideon Mungaro and his deputy Chris Wamalwa should continue in their positions.

The four were, however, warned that they would be dismissed if they did not pull up their socks.

Mr Nyenze, Mr Midiwo, Mr Mungaro and Mr Wamalwa had been accused of failing to provide direction in the House and championing Cord’s agenda.

Mr Mungaro had also been criticised over his alleged cooperation with Jubilee.

But a statement read by Ford-Kenya secretary-general Eseli Simiyu after the PG attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Cord allies Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula said “after deliberation the Cord team agreed to retain its leadership in the National Assembly.”

“This followed a firm assurance by the three leaders that they will pull up their socks,” the statement said.

The PG also supported governors against a perceived onslaught on them by the national government.

It noted that while Cord supported a prudent use of scarce resources by county governments, the national government “must not opportunistically exploit the difficulties county governments are going through to undermine devolution.”

“Cord strongly supports devolved governments and will support all genuine efforts to improve good governance in the counties,” the coalition said.

It put the national government on notice, saying it should come clean on corruption scandals engulfing it.

Meanwhile, TNA leaders are scheduled to meet in Naivasha from Friday to draw plans for its future. MPs, senators, members of county assemblies and other leaders are expected at the Great Rift Lodge to discuss a draft strategic plan for the party.

“We are meeting to breathe life to a document that we, as party officials, have been preparing for the last one month or so. Everyone associated with TNA, be it be MPs, senators, MCAs and other selected representatives will be coming,” said TNA’s executive director Joseph Mathai.

One of the issues to be discussed will be how to expand the party which was ranked the most popular in an opinion poll last month.-nation.co.ke

ODM candidates for the position of secretary general Dr Agnes Zani (left) and Ababu Namwamba hug after a meeting with the National Elections Board at the party headquarters on February 18 2014. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL

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