Orange party begins to draw new rules ahead of primaries

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Men dressed in black destroy ballot papers and boxes during ODM elections in the Kasarani Gymnasium on February 28.

ODM is working on new nomination rules to prevent chaotic primaries, which analysts say contributed to dashing party leader Raila Odinga’s quest for the presidency in the 2013 General Election.

The chaotic nominations, particularly in Mr Odinga’s bedrock support base of Nyanza and Western, resulted in defection of losers and voter apathy.

This comes days after Mr Odinga declared that ODM would conduct nominations at least one year to the General Election to give enough room for dispute resolution and recourse to the losers.

ODM executive director Magerer Lang’at said work on the proposed nomination rules that would put in place credible primaries ahead of the polls has begun.

“We will come up with a raft of proposals to ensure we get it right this time round. We may not do the primaries one year earlier, but we are proposing  between three to six months,” Mr Lang’at said.

ENOUGH TIME

He said even three months were enough time to allow dispute resolutions and to give losers time to decide their fate.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba supported the early nomination proposal, saying it was among reforms he had planned to inject into the party if he could have become secretary-general last February.

“I remember in February 2013 when people hurled shoes at Raila Odinga at the Homa Bay Stadium during a rally to express their rage on the conduct of the nomination. The proposed early primaries are perfect,” Mr Namwamba said.

The party’s performance was compromised by crooks, brokers and gangs at its headquarters who turned the secretariat into a shop where certificates were auctioned to the highest bidders.

Mr Lang’at declared that he was closing all shops where corrupt party members who lost elections would buy nomination certificates.

“Nomination has largely affected the outcome of the poll. We must do everything possible to avoid a recurrence,” the ODM official said.

Mr Lang’at said that the party was also strengthening its branches by hiring county secretariat staff for digital recruitment next month.

“We can ensure clean nominations by having a reliable data of our members. We are launching digital registration in all our sub-branches next month. This will lock out non-party members from gate crashing,” Mr Lang’at said.

He said a proposal had been made to zone the country and to conduct staggered nominations over a period of 10 to 20 days.

“This will help us in dealing with places such as Nyanza where the party is popular so that the entire party machinery concentrates in one region and not making it national and exposing our skeleton manpower,” Mr Lang’at.

Last week, Mr Odinga admitted that nomination has been a big headache to the party and promised to have the rules reviewed to favour early primaries.

-nation.co.ke

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