By Standard Reporter
Grassroots leaders staved off stiff competition from MPs to scoop all the 20 party leadership positions during the ODM Women’s League election held at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.
The Orange party became the first political party to elect the County Women Representatives ahead of the General Election in March next year. Former Mwingi Secondary School teacher Beth Mutunga Syengo was elected chairlady, while Sylvia Mingala became the secretary general.
However, the elections were not without drama as Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro faced off with her female colleagues on whether they should vie for positions in the ODM Women League. There were also fears other presidential aspirants would want to have their moles in the women’s league, and ultimately deal a blow to the Orange party’s influence at the grassroots. Ongoro got the wrath of her parliamentary colleagues who had insisted on being elected to the various positions.
However, she is said to have ganged up with the grassroots women and maintained MPs are too busy to be elected to those positions.
“We wanted our party to have grassroots leaders. Having MPs would not add any value to it. ODM is a mass party and we must accommodate all,” said Ongoro, who is also party vice-chairperson.
She took issue with a section of the ODM women MPs who claimed Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida, influenced the elections.
“Ida made it clear she supports all women irrespective of their social status and what she wanted was fair elections and a team that would steer ODM to victory,” said Ongoro.
During the event, Ida praised ODM women MPs for standing with the PM and with the Orange party.
She saluted women MPs allied to the PM from the Rift Valley for standing with him in the face of political rebellion in the region.
Ida said Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei, Higher Education minister Margret Kamar, Home Affairs Assistant Minister Beatrice Kones stood with ODM during trying moments.