The National Elections Board (NEB) of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has confirmed that Raila Odinga and his two deputies -- Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya -- will battle for the party's presidential ticket in the upcoming General Election.
NEB chairperson Catherine Mumma in a statement on Thursday, said the trio met Wednesday’s deadline for submitting applications for ODM’s presidential ticket.
“The NEB will scrutinise the three applications, vet the candidates as required by the ODM elections and nomination rules and subsequent thereto announce the next processes and time table in accordance with the ODM Constitution,” Ms Mumma said.
The board had on January 21 sent out a notice declaring the commencement of the process of nomination for ODM presidential candidate.
Interested politicians were required to meet the criteria spelt in both the Constitution of Kenya and that f the ODM Party and submit their applications not later than February 26, 2021 before the deadline was extended to March 31.
The unveiling of Mr Odinga as one of the aspirants for the party’s ticket now means that he will be making 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.
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.
In 2007, Mr Odinga, running on an ODM ticket made his second stab at the top seat and was declared first runners up to Mr Kibaki of the Party of National Unity (PNU), in one of the country’s most controversial elections.
The declaration of Mr Kibaki as the winner against Mr Odinga who was backed by several top leaders including incumbent Deputy President William Ruto was followed by spontaneous violence and protests across the country leading to the month long negotiations hence the formation of the Grand Coalition Government with the ODM boss as the Prime Minister.
The defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Chairman Samuel Kivuitu declared Mr Kibaki winner with 4,584,721 votes against Mr Odinga’s 4,352,993 while Orange Democratic Movement - Kenya (ODM-K) candidate Kalonzo Musyoka managed 8,79,903 votes.
Come 2013, Mr Odinga again joined forced with other politicians including Mr Musyoka and formed the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) in whose ticket he vied for the top seat, coming second to President Uhuru Kenyatta, then of The National Alliance Party (TNA).
Mr Odinga got 5,340,546 votes against Mr Kenyatta’s 6,173,433 while, the then United Democratic Forum party (UDF) leader Musalia Mudavadi managed 483,981 votes.
In his fourth stab at the top seat in 2017, the ODM leader once again came second to President Kenyatta of Jubilee party, an election he successfully challenged at the Supreme Court.
He had received 6,822,812 votes against President Kenyatta’s 8,223,369, results which were annulled by retired Chief Justice David Maraga-led apex court on grounds that the election was marred by “massive irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results which affected the integrity of the poll.”
The court then ordered a new vote to be held within 60 days but Mr Odinga and his National Super Alliance (Nasa) brigade pulled out on ground of lack of electoral reforms ahead of the fresh vote.
He said he would not participate in an election “whose results have been pre-determined.”
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna last Week announced that the party was working on a “broader, better and bolder alliance” that will shake the country and shape the politics of the land for years to come.
“As an avowed centre-left movement, our ideals of social democracy and desire to empower the masses and fight poverty hold supreme above all else.”
“The new alliance will have younger and fresh blood with clear ideological positions on the issues of the day,” said Mr Sifuna.