ODM party ‘rebels’ dismiss amnesty
The Orange Democratic Movement’s ( ODM) move to vet “party hoppers” and “rebels” before allowing them to participate in grassroots elections despite a blanket amnestyhas been termed insincere and a public gimmick.
The National Elections Board (NEB) will first vet the candidates before they can be cleared to participate in the party’s activities.
The vetting process includes verifying membership and establishing whether members have been active in the party’s activities for the last one year.
NEB Chairperson Judith Pareno insisted that even though the Central Committee resolved to declare amnesty to all, members who had decamped from the party must go through the vetting exercise before being cleared to run for positions.
“We will vet the members according to the party rules. We shall cross-check with the Registrar of Political Parties whether you are still a member of another party or not,” said Ms Pareno.
But some members read mischief in the exercise. Those who spoke to The Standard claimed some leaders wanted to lock them out of the elections and had resorted to using the NEB to push their agenda.
“They now want to use NEB to ensure the defectors are rendered ineligible to contest. Saying that they now allow defectors to contest is a sideshow and a public relations exercise to hoodwink people,” said Nyando politician Jared Okelo, who had decamped to Ford Kenya to contest the area’s parliamentary seat in the 2013 elections.
“None of us has expressed willingness to go back to ODM. Instead, it is the party begging us to rejoin it. How then do they grant an amnesty instead of apologising over the party’s bungled nominations in 2013?” he asked.
Former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo challenged the party’s leadership not to impose leaders on the people in the upcoming grassroots elections. “Allowing defectors to contest in the elections is not a favour that they are doing to the so-called rebels but they must know that the party needs the people more than the people need the party,” said Ogindo.
They also challenged the party to address the factors that forced them to decamp ahead of the 2013 General Election.
Former ODM Homa Bay branch vice chairman Ong’ondo Were said: “The party is yet to convince us that it will not influence the outcome of the elections.”
Kasipul politician Odoyo Owidi said any fresh plot to bar defectors would be met by resistance from the people.