ODM to name presidential aspirant in December

Edwin Sifuna

ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The ODM party has said that it will name its official presidential candidate for the next year’s elections in December, setting the stage for a possible political contest for the country’s top seat in the upcoming polls.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna on Friday said that the announcement will be done after the conclusion of the country-wide peace campaigns dubbed Azimio la Umoja, which are currently being spearheaded by the party leader Raila Odinga.

The statement by Mr Sifuna – which came just hours after the registrar of political parties Ann Nderitu agreed to a request by Orange party to reserve a name for a planned alliance with the Jubilee party – ends speculations on whether the party will sponsor a candidate to go head to head with deputy president William Ruto who has already declared his interest for the top seat.

And while Mr Odinga has not yet declared his candidature and on whether he will take another stab at the presidency, all indications have been pointing towards him after the other two contenders for the ODM party ticket – Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya – dropped their presidential bids in favour of the ODM chief.

Mr Odinga who is currently in the United Arabs Emirates attending a conference on infrastructure, has already received endorsements for the presidency in the past Azimio la Umoja campaigns, with all that is left is his formal announcement for the bid in December.

“We expect that we will be able to conclude the Azimio campaigns by early December so we can have candidate for the elections in 2022,” Mr Sifuna said yesterday while addressing a group of ODM women supporters at Chungwa house.

The ODM official said the nation-wide peace campaigns – which are currently on a two-week break following Mr Odinga’s visit to the UAE, will move to the Lower Eastern regions of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui on November 12, before embarking on another journey to the Mt Kenya region and later a campaign in Nairobi.

The tours, will then culminate into a convention which will be by the party and its partner members in December, where it is expected to endorse and unveil its presidential flag-bearer in the 2022 elections.

“These tours that you do across the country, they actually take a physical toll on you. So when you take a break, you do not need to speculate on the reasons. This is just a break so we can re-energise and focus,” said Mr Sifuna while addressing questions on whether the Azimio la Umoja campaigns had been suspended.

Should the party settle on Mr Odinga as its presidential flagbearer as has been indicated by many, then the plans by the Orange party could set the stage for a fierce political duel with Dr Ruto whom Mr Sifuna yesterday accused of sloganeering with his bottoms-up economic model.

Mr Sifuna in his remarks, accused the DP of adopting a strategy that had no tangible or a feasible plan of addressing the problems facing thousands of Kenyans across the country, including joblessness among the youth.

“How can you say that you plan to uplift the economy from the bottom-up, yet you do not even have a concrete plan to do so? I know that there are so many people who have accused ODM of lacking an ideology. What many people do not know is that ODM is a social democratic movement that has a manifesto and a constitution that actually talks about issues affecting the common people and how it intends to address them,” he said.

The party also announced what it called plans for the creation of a registrar for lobby groups supporting its bid for the presidency in next year’s elections to help consolidate its support across various demographics in the country.

“As we head into elections campaign period, we welcome lobby groups like Daughters of Raila to join and give their input. However, for smooth operation, we encourage all such groups to register with us for better coordination,” said Mr Sifuna.

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