A group of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) lawmakers has told off two governors eyeing the party’s presidential ticket, saying they should expect a bruising battle as party leader Raila Odinga will not endorse anyone.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and his Kakamega colleague Wycliffe Oparanya have expressed interest in the party ticket.
In separate interviews, Migori Woman Representative Pamella Odhiambo and Nyatike MP Tom Odege said the race for party’s presidential flagbearer will not be a walk in the park for anyone.
They said the other leaders should shelve their ambitions and back Mr Odinga.
“Our party leader will definitely be on the ballot. Nobody should expect to be endorsed,” Dr Odhiambo told the Saturday Nation.
“Mr Odinga has brought meaningful changes to this country. The other leaders should shelve their presidential ambitions and support him.”
Dr Odhiambo said many politicians have risen to leadership riding on Mr Odinga’s influence.
Mr Odinga and his two deputies – Mr Joho and Mr Oparanya – have beaten the March 31, 2021 deadline for submission of applications for the party presidential ticket.
The ODM National Elections Board has not examined the three applications ahead of vetting to be conducted in accordance with the party’s elections and nomination guidelines.
Mr Odege said Mr Odinga is selfless as he has supported other presidential hopefuls in the past.
The Nyatike MP said the ODM leader has a better chance of becoming Kenya’s president “owing to his vast political experience” and urged other contenders “to give room for his final attempt”.
“Governors Joho and Oparanya have a democratic space to vie for any seat but the current political tide can only be weathered by Mr Odinga,” Mr Odege said.
“The 2022 presidential battle requires leaders with a national outlook.”
The ODM National Elections Board issued a notice on January 21 initiating the nomination of a presidential candidate.
Eligible candidates were expected to meet criteria spelt out in the country’s and party constitutions and were to submit their applications by February 26, 2021.
This was later pushed to the March 31 deadline following a request by some of the interested candidates.