Raila rules out ODM polls, cites interference
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has ruled out fresh elections for new ODM party officials any time soon, citing the possibility of the elections being infiltrated by Jubilee decoys. He expressed fears that key positions in the party could be filled by persons suspected to be sponsored to wreck the party from within.
The former PM also claimed that some of the leaders threatening to quit the party are doing so with 2017 elections in mind since they are out to form political parties to use as bargaining tools. “Some ODM leaders have threatened to form their own parties so as to have future bargaining power in the coming elections.
We even know that one of the aims of the so-called rebels is to weaken the strong coalition ahead of 2017,” said Raila. Attempts by the party to hold elections early this year ended in chaos after the exercise was marred by hired goons now popularly known as the “men-in-black”.
They stormed the venue, kicked ballot boxes around and threw tables and other furniture all over the place before making a dramatic exit in full glare of television cameras. While the party leadership blamed the chaos at the Kasarani Gymnasium on outside forces, some of the men who participated in the mayhem have been linked to the party.
ODM has also blamed Jubilee for the simmering discontent in some of its strongholds, including Coast and Western regions. Politicians from these regions have threatened to form their own parties to gain bargaining power in future elections.
Speaking in the Dholuo during an evening talkshow at a vernacular radio station, Raila said the ongoing wrangling in ODM and Cord is a result of infiltration by Jubilee moles. “Jokocha osedonjore gi Cord kod ODM, gi tiyo kod jo tok kodera, jo Coast kod jokoyiedhi mondo gitung buch Siaya mar Cord gi ODM,” (The people from other sides have infiltrated ODM and entire Cord coalition.
They are using Luhyas, Coastal people and Kambas to weaken cord and ODM), he said. He said some members who contested in the aborted February 28 polls were still bitter and asked the party members to allow tempers to cool down before the party goes to fresh elections.
“Wadwaro mondo mirima manejowa nigo eweche mag yiero mokalo orum, eka waduog e yiero to kata kamano, waket mahino wa e referandum mondi” (we want the bitterness that emanated from the bungled ODM elections to tone down before we go for fresh party polls), said Raila.
He further said: “Bitterness still exists among party members, especially some of the contenders and that is why we can’t engage in national party elections right now, but will let the bitterness die down.” He asked members to allow the interim party officials to run the affairs of the party as they focus on the referendum.
Among interim officials is outgoing Secretary General, Anyang’ Nyong’o. Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, who had vied for the position of secretary general in the aborted elections, is reported to have challenged ODM to carry out party elections before calling for a referendum.
But MPs loyal to Raila accused Namwamba of being a Jubilee pawn, being used to wreck the party from within. Raila has since absolved Namwamba of wrongdoing and instead accused the media of misreporting. Leaders loyal to Raila, however, continue to warn errant members to respect the party leadership and adhere to its decisions or be kicked out.
Siaya Senator James Orengo and MPs Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), John Mbadi (Suba), Oburu Oginga (Nominated), Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) and James Wandayi (Ugunja) warned members against attacking the party leadership. Gumbo defended Raila over claims that he has already created a list of interim officials, saying such claims were mere propaganda.
“We do not want people spreading propaganda that Raila has created a list of official when he has not done so. If one is dissatisfied with the party he can move out,” charged Gumbo. Wandayi reiterated that the party branches need to be strengthened so as to have powers to discipline errant members.
“Once you decide to belong to a party you are obliged to be loyal to it. This is by supporting and respecting the party’s ideology and decisions failure to which the grassroots officials will be empowered to discipline you,” said Wandayi.
The legislators were speaking during the installation of Rarieda ODM chairman Sydonius Onyango Omollo at Kawuondi village. Suba MP John Mbadi dared those who are not contented with party leadership to relinquish their posts and go for fresh elections.