ODM to clean up house in preparation for 2022

By Daily Nation

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga started reassembling his troops in readiness for the 2022 General Election on Friday with a firm warning that his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party was prepared to go it alone.

Addressing the party’s National Governing Council (NGC) meeting at Orange House on Friday, Mr Odinga said he had formed a task force to review the party’s performance in the last General Election and review its nomination rules, which could have impacted negatively on the 2017 election outcome.

He gave the task force ninety days to submit its report.

In a telling message to ODM’s partners in the National Super Alliance Nasa coalition, Mr Odinga was categorical that while his party was ready to work with like minded parties, it was also prepared to go it alone if push came to shove.

“From the ground up, ODM must be on the battle mode. From the ground up, all ODM leaders and supporters must without fear or apologies erect and fly the flag of justice, fairness and equity as only ODM can,” he stated.

FIGHT ALONE

Then came the warning: “We must be prepared to fight alongside other like-minded parties and individual. But we must also be prepared to fight alone should it come to that.”

Maintaining ODM was the only party Kenyans could count on to fight for their rights in the face of misrule, Mr Odinga stated he was assembling a new team to rescue the country from Jubilee’s misrule.

“Essentially therefore, we are putting in place a national recovery and redemption team to fight for Kenyans as only ODM can,” he told the delegates..

“To this end, we agreed to set up a taskforce to look into our performance in the elections and to review our nomination rules, considering their positive and negative impacts on our performance.”

“The taskforce will look into the capacity, resources, strengths, weaknesses and processes of our National Election Board not to apportion blame but to strengthen it and avoid past pitfalls,” he added.

DICTATORSHIP

The proposal to form the task force was presented and promptly approved unanimously by the delegates.

“We are out to build a team that likes and works with one another. We are up against a malevolent dictatorship. A house divided, a party going for half measures, a party with no big screen view of the challenges and opportunities will not win the battle against the dictatorship,” Mr Odinga said.

The meeting was attended by two of his co-principals in Nasa: Wiper Democratic Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and the Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi with Mr Odinga explaining he had invited the duo to disapprove claims by a section of the media that Nasa was disintegrating after the events of the last few weeks.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula was said to be away in Kitale where the judgement in the petition filed against Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba was delivered. Mr Khaemba is a Ford Kenya governor.

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

Friday’s NGC was preceded by the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday in which the party made some significant changes to its leadership that was wrecked by a wave of defections in the lead up to last August’s General Election.

Among the new faces in the leadership of the party are lawyer Edwin Sifuna who replaces Mr Ababu Namwamba as secretary general, while Kisii woman rep Janet Ong’era was elected as one of the vice chairs to replace former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma who defected to Jubilee in September last year.

Busia woman representative Florence Mutua has replaced former nominated senator Elizabeth Ongoro as deputy secretary general alongside Senator Agnes Zani who has been acting as secretary general since the exit of Mr Namwamba.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya is the new deputy organising secretary, taking over from Mr Reuben Ndolo, while Nyando MP Jared Okelo takes over as secretary for public policy and economic affairs left vacant after the defection of former Starehe MP Steven Kariuki.

Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris takes over as the secretary for international affairs after the defection of Ms Joyce Lay, Mr Noah Akala has been elected as the deputy director of campaigns, Mr Kipkorir arap Menjo is the secretary for devolution.

NEW OFFICIALS

Mr Odinga welcomed the new officials and challenged them to match, better or surpass the older one in ability, in courage, and in resolution.

“To meet the great expectations of our supporters and the country, we must have a complete and functioning team that is also equal to the task ahead,” Mr Odinga said of the team.

He added: “This is precisely the reason we have been at this task these past two days — to take stock, discuss the achievements, the set-backs and the work that lies ahead.”

Mr Musyoka’s speech was drowned by calls of “shika biblia” (lift the bible) from the NGC members asking him to emulate Mr Odinga and be sworn in as the people’s deputy president.

The Wiper leader reiterated the four principals were united and attacked those who were out to scuttle them by describing him as a coward. “Don’t try to divide us because you will be doing an eternal damage to this country.”

UNDERMINE DREAM

He said the coalition’s motive remains to drive Jubilee party out of power, but cautioned ODM supporters against being used to undermine the dream.

“We must have respect towards each other. You can’t call a Nasa principal a coward and think you are helping the coalition in any way. Friendly fire also kills,” he said.

He called on the coalition to have a change of tack on how it will manage its politics going into the future and hinted the constituent parties could be merged into one.

Mr Mudavadi called for the strengthening of all constituent parties in the coalition but assured supporters that the Nasa agenda is not lost. “We know there are many challenges that oftentimes take long to resolve, but the agenda is not lost.”

He added: “When you are sailing there are many different winds that you meet in the voyage. What you hope is that the ship will eventually dock where it was expected.”