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ODM races against time, unity

21 October 2013, 09:27

Nairobi - Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, faces a formidable task to maintain unity in his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ahead of the oncoming National Delegates Elections.

The elections are meant to ensure the party gets a new set of leaders that will reflect regional representation, a move that officials believe will help strengthen the party’s grassroots and national support.

Odinga had earlier indicated that the elections would be held in December but sources within the party organs reveal that that the polls had been pushed to February next year.

This push comes amid pressure from a section of the youthful members of the party, especially from the Western region, to replace the old guard who they blame for the election loss earlier this year.

The youthful MPs particularly want to occupy the Secretary General position Senator Anyong’ Nyong’ o currently holds.

Sources further indicated that some influential members of the party especially from the Rift Valley, including former cabinet minister, Franklin Bett and Margaret Kamar, quit the party sometime, which could be a blow to the ODM considering the fact that the region overwhelmingly voted in support of the ruling Jubilee government.

It is reported that the former speaker Kenneth Marende has expressed interest in vying for the party chair while at the same time the Kisumu Central Member of Parliament Ken Obura is said to be eying the secretary general position.

However, Marende’s long time loyalty to the former Prime Minister came under question when he publicly declared that it was high time the Luhya community voted one of their own come 2017 elections.

He cited that the community had supported other communities in the previous elections and that it was now time the other communities returned the favor.
However, some leaders affiliated to the party still hold that ODM was a national movement that still had influence on millions of Kenyans. They believe even with some leaders opting out, the party could still survive.

A section of legislatures from the ruling party had hinted on introducing a motion that would put an age limit to the presidential aspirant. If this goes through then Odinga could be technically barred from the 2017 elections.

Nonetheless, the party’s Executive Director, Magarer Langat, downplayed the permutations.

“When the National Delegates Conference (NDC) meets, all the 26 positions will be filled from the party leader downwards except for Raila’s position, which has already been filled.”

– CAJ News



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