Showdown looms in ODM as Raila Odinga backs consensus

Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: |Stephen Oduor | Nation Media Group

A showdown looms in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) after party leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday backed consensus over primaries ahead of 2022 polls.

Mr Odinga instead rooted for either consensus or direct tickets in the nomination of candidates.

He encouraged dialogue among aspirants to reach a consensus on the best person to fly the party flag. Should there be disagreements among hopefuls, delegates and members, he said, the party will issue direct tickets.

“The party will employ four options to nominate its candidates. The first one will be consensus, while the delegates system will be the second option,” Mr Odinga said when he visited victims of the Kibra fire incident in Nairobi yesterday.

“The third option will involve the use of party members with membership cards and not just IDs (identity cards). Therefore, those who want to be members of the party should take advantage of the ongoing free registration to be able to participate in the primaries,” he added.

The consensus method is said to be in line with the expected coalition with the ruling Jubilee Party.

“We are uniting ODM and Jubilee in a coalition deal that will guarantee us several seats, especially here in Nairobi. We want all the seats here right from MCA, MP, senator, Woman Rep, governor and president all under Azimio la Umoja banner,” Mr Odinga said.

He explained that the party is keen to retain all aspirants under its umbrella to avoid defections and independent candidates as this “reduces the party’s chances of benefiting from the political parties funds”.

Speaking after hosting a delegation of political leaders, business community and religious leaders from Marsabit County at Chungwa House, Mr Odinga said the party will also issue direct tickets. This, he noted, will be the last option should there be a prolonged dispute.

He was accompanied by ODM national chairman John Mbadi, national treasurer Timothy Bosire, director of political affairs Opiyo Wandayi and executive director Oduor Ong’wen.

The nomination options mean that those seeking to participate in the ODM primaries must be bona fide party members and not just ID card holders as has been the case. The primaries have over the years been characterised by chaos, especially in ODM strongholds, which officials say have led to the outfit being viewed in negative light.

Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju said the technical committee working on the coalition model with ODM will have to study all the options and come up with the best scenario for nominating coalition candidates.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all. How we approach Nairobi may be different from Siaya. When Jubilee, ODM and all different parties field a candidate in Kamukunji, you will divide votes then lose it,” he said.“There may be merits in just having one candidate from a member of the coalition.”

He said there are places where the coalition should be able to work 100 per cent together but there are others that even if they compete it does not affect the presidential votes.

“The discussions are going on including consideration of zoning of different parts of the country,” he added.

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