Raila bites the bullet, moves to overhaul ODM

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Raila bites the bullet, moves to overhaul ODM
AU envoy for Infrastructure Raila Odinga has been forced to bite the bullet and overhaul ODM in the wake of dwindling national support.

Raila has sought to reconstitute the National Elections Board and is mulling to recompose the party secretariat to make it more vibrant. This followed claims that the elections board has been perpetuating mass walkouts from the party by its officials who ‘irregularly sell nomination certificates’.

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An internal report released by ODM last month heaped blame on the secretariat for the party’s dwindling fortunes. The secretariat is headed by executive director Oduor Ong’wen while Nominated Senator Judy Pareno chairs the party’s NEB. Suba South MP John Mbadi chairs the NEC.

Bungled primaries have cost the party crucial seats, a situation that has weakened its power in Parliament, having reported a downward trend over the years. The task force report showed that primaries remain the party’s biggest vice for lack of credibility and that the same is not ‘free, fair and democratic’.

On the secretariat, the team held that it is completely out of touch with the grassroots membership and works without intelligence. The concerns informed the two-day retreat hosted in Nakuru where the party set tough conditions that it feels will help it streamline the management of primaries.

Among the measures is that candidates seeking election through ODM will have to be active members for at least three years prior to a general election. This would mean that those who will not have secured their membership by the end of this year will miss the party’s ticket for 2022 polls.

The bold move, as captured in a report exclusively obtained by the Star, affects positions of MCAs, members of the National Assembly, senators, governors and woman representatives. It is seen as an attempt by the party to block last-minute defections by aspirants barely days to the election.

ODM is further seeking to set minimum qualification requirements for whoever wishes to fly its flag, a move intended to lock out persons with questionable integrity.

NEC resolved at the Nakuru meeting that nominations shall be by universal suffrage, electoral colleges, consensus or direct ticket based on a scientific process.

Raila has also sought to end the debacle around the sharing of slots for nominated MCAs and MPs. In this, the party resolved that the nomination lists would be verified by the NEC to come up with the final list sent to the IEBC.

The party has, therefore, planned a nationwide membership recruitment tentatively slated to end by December 31 this year. The proposals presented to the NEC were crafted by a three-member team that was looking at the findings of a task force Raila had formed to review the party nominations.

The review was conducted by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi (ODM Political Affairs Secretary), NEB chair Judith Pareno, and Nyando MP Jared Okello. A taskforce, whose report the team relied on, had cited bungled primaries as the cause of violence and mass exits after ODM elections.

The team was chaired by Catherine Mumma, with Lawrence Gumbe, Mumbo Gunda, and Irshad Sumra as members. The lot accused the ODM secretariat, the National Executive Committee, and the National Elections Board of running down the party.

Wandayi team concurred with Mumma’s recommendations saying it will help deal with the flaws that have threatened ODM’s popularity in the country.

ODM had 100 members of the National Assembly in 2007, 78 in 2013 and dropped further to 58 after the 2017 vote. In April, the party lost both the  Ugenya and Wajir West by-elections, further reducing its numbers to 56, a factor that has played in all electoral seats, save for senators.

In 2013, ODM had 16 governors, but the number reduced to 13 after the 2017 polls. Woman representative seats declined from 15 in 2013 to 11 today. The number of MCAs elected through the party climbed down to 333 from 382 that it had in 2013. It is represented by 13 senators, up from 11 last term.

BY MOSES ODHIAMBO AND LUKE AWICH

the-star.co.ke

Raila bites the bullet, moves to overhaul ODM

Source The Star Newspaper

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