Magerer Langat: I am still in charge at Orange house

Nairobi MCAs eject ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat from Orenge house on last October. [PHOTO:  GOVEDI ASUTSA/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: He was pulled from his chair at a party function, roughed up and humiliated in broad daylight at Orange House in Nairobi last October.

This is what befell the immediate former Executive Director of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Magerer Langat, leading to his unceremonious exit.

The instance of the former Kipkelion legislator is a good pointer to the challenges that holders of the plum position of executive director of political parties in Kenya experience.

“The tragedy of being an executive director in Kenya is that political parties here are not institutions but personal property of their respective party leaders,” Magerer told The Standard on Sunday.

“Therefore, the moment I tried running the party professionally, I ran into problems because people believed that I was trying to take it away from the owners,” he alleges.

Although he vacated his physical office at the Orange House, ODM’s party headquarters, Magerer insists he is still the executive director of ODM since he never resigned, nor was he officially fired.

READ: Kenya political party managers sweat in thankless job

“I was never suspended and even the party leader said I am still the executive director when he spoke at a funeral in Bomet,” he insisted.

“I only stepped aside to let the issues that were raised to be cleared, during which time one of my juniors was appointed to hold brief for me”.

He says he was under a contract that is still in force since it was never terminated by either of the binding signatories.

“I still draw my salary every month except the month of December where they didn’t send but they explained they would be doing so soon,” Magerer claimed.


“Before Raila (Odinga, the ODM party leader) left for India, we were to discuss about my future. He left the matter to Secretary General Ababu Namwamba who I am supposed to meet in the next few days”.

He wants ODM to give him the way forward in a one week, failure to which he would be making a major political decision.

In the meantime, Magerer reflects on challenges while in office. He points out that implementing the functions of the executive director in any political party in Kenya is almost impossible because parties don’t have any philosophy or ideology.

“It was a very tricky job because I had to balance between being a professional manager and a sycophant in order to survive,” the former MP recalled.

“Major parties in Kenya operate with millions of sycophants across the country,” he says.

Although the expectations of the public is that big parties like ODM should always hold free and fair nominations, Magerer says this has never been the case, especially in party strongholds.

“One of my main points of disagreement with some party officials was the fact that the leadership never believed in the spirit of fairness when it came to party primaries,” he claims.

“As it was evident in Homa Bay, the leadership would always find a way of imposing a preferred candidate,” he adds.

He says in some instances, party delegates are never given opportunity to elect candidates, which he says could have discouraged the public from registering as party members.

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Magerer Langat ODM