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There's nothing amiss as ODM prepares to lead country

COMMENTARY
By | March 1st 2012

Paul Otuoma

Many things have been said about ODM’s internal democracy processes that a lot of people are starting to lose sight of party manifesto and what it promises when it forms the next government.

While it is important for people to get concerned about the party’s presidential preparation and processes, it would be wrong to forget about the great manifesto and plans we have for the country.

In statement, there is no controversy over the party’s selection process for the presidential candidate because as for now, the party constitution provides that delegates choose the preferred person at the national level, but should majority party followers demand that we change the Party Constitution to allow for delegates at county levels to choose, that will be considered.

Popular support

It was not Prime Minister Raila Odinga or deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi who decided this. And the two won’t decide in future. The party constitution allows any party member to seek to contest for presidency through this internal selection process. We did it in 2007.

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Similarly, the ongoing countrywide party popularisation campaigns and activities are a party strategy to ensure we get as many strong people with leadership credentials to join and run for other positions including senators, governors and county government positions throughout the country.

We are popularising the party for both county and national politics as we prepare to govern the next government.

The party strongly favoured the devolved government structure and believes that we need efficient leadership and popular support at all levels. It would be a waste of time for ODM to form the national government without strong county governments and support.

Women of integrity

The future development of this country, especially for former marginalised regions lies in strong and efficient county governments.

ODM will be spending heavily in investing in scouting for strong candidates for country governments, governors and senators countrywide to ensure we change the history of this country.

We want to ensure we get men and women of integrity, qualification and commitment to be the party’s candidates for the devolved governments and national politics as provided for by the new Constitution.

There is no confusion in the party to us members as everything is clear and the internal democracies should not be seen as rivalry in ODM. In any case, politics without competition is a very boring game.

We envisage that the party will not bag Parliamentary seats in all areas in the country but that notwithstanding, we are working on ensuring we get county government positions in those areas, upon which we seek to implement ODM policies at various levels.

This mission cannot be achieved if ODM leaders in their various capacities do not go out individually and collectively to win followers throughout the country and in particular areas they have added advantage.

The ODM manifesto spells out the things we want to achieve. But after the disputed 2007 election which led to this grand coalition government the party has faced a lot of challenges. Many are the frustrations the prime minister and ODM ministers have gone through under this government in trying to implement some reforms and policies.

We shall see this party internal democracy processes at the county governments during candidate selection just as it is happening at the national level. Nothing will come easy for those seeking positions on the ODM ticket at all levels and those who fear competition are advised to stay away.

Indeed, we are going to see a lot of us at the national level going for positions of governor or senate, as need arises in line with party thinking and as we consolidate the party countrywide. We are not taking chances on the county governments.

Of chapter six

Given that most of ODM’s strongholds are marginalised, we want serious people to manage the resources at county level efficiently to bridge the gap in infrastructural development, education, income generation, gender equality and equity, resource utilisation among others.

How can we let our strongholds be run by people without leadership credentials as required by chapter six of the new Constitution or even those who opposed the new law to ascend to positions?

We are also committed to making inroads into areas traditionally not associated with ODM, and this will be tried through county governments – so the current party popularisation and internal democracy must be seen through this, otherwise to fail to understand ODM issues in this context is to miss the whole point.

ODM is the party to watch.

- Writer is the Minister for Youth and Sports and MP for Funyula.

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