ODM: Raila candidature announcement was April fool’s prank 

ODM leaders

From left: Raila Odinga, Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Only Governor Hassan Joho and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya will battle for the party's presidential ticket.
  • It is not clear whether Mr Odinga will be allowed to make an application after the BBI referendum

The Raila Odinga-led party Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has disclosed that only the former Prime Minister’s deputies, Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, will battle for the party's presidential ticket in the upcoming General Election. 

The Orange Party’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna in a statement on Friday, said only the duo had met Wednesday’s deadline for submitting applications for ODM’s presidential ticket noting that the prior communication which had Mr Odinga’s name was due to ‘Fool’s Day.’

“Politics can be serious business. Politics is serious business every day of the calendar. Except April 1st. We took the liberty of joining in the day’s pranks with our communication yesterday knowing well our friends in media and politics would not know better,” said Mr Sifuna.

He insisted that the former premier will not engage in the succession politics until the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional Amendment process is concluded.

ODM presidential candidate

“So here is the position. Raila Odinga Did NOT apply for the Party's ticket. His long held position is that he will not discuss 2022 until after the BBI process is done,” he said.

Mr Sifuna added: “At the close of the Application period, the Party received only two Applications from Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya and Ali Hassan Joho.”

He said the party’s National Elections Board (NEB) will go ahead to process the application of the duo.

“These will be processed in the usual manner by the National Elections Board,” said Mr Sifuna.

The board had on January 21 sent out a notice declaring the commencement of the process of nomination for ODM presidential candidate.

Fifth stab at the presidency

Interested politicians were required to meet the criteria spelt in both the Constitution of Kenya and that of the ODM Party and submit their applications not later than February 26, 2021 before the deadline was extended to March 31.

It is not clear whether Mr Odinga will be allowed to make an application after the referendum to allow him to make his fifth stab at the top seat should the party settle on him as its candidate.

Mr Odinga first ran for the country’s top seat in 1997 on the National Development Party (NDP) and came third after the late President Daniel Arap Moi (Kanu) who emerged the winner and Mwai Kibaki (Democratic Party) who became second.

He got 667,866 votes against Mr Kibaki’s 1,911,742 and Mr Moi’s 2,500,865 votes. Former vice president Michael Kijana Wamalwa of Ford Kenya came forth with 505,704 while Kitui Governor Charity Kaluki Ngilu, then running on the Social Democratic Party (SDP) emerged fifth with a total of 488,600 votes.

Requirements and qualifications

In 2002, Mr Odinga teamed up with Wamalwa, Ms Ngilu and a host of other Kanu stalwarts and rallied behind Mr Kibaki who flew the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (Narc) flag, ending Kanu’s 40-year rule.

Governor Oparanya said he was ready to be the ODM presidential candidate come next year saying that he has met all the requirements needed.

“I have met all requirements and qualifications for the ODM presidential nomination and I have all that it takes to clinch the party's ticket,” he said on Thursday.

“Given the opportunity to fly the party's ticket, I am confident of winning the Presidency during the 2022 General elections. I humbly appeal to ODM supporters and well-wishers to support my bid for the party's ticket and 2022 presidency,” he added.

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