ODM accuses opponents of attempting to scuttle NDC

ODM leader Raila Odinga addressing leaders at Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County, February 1, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

ODM has accused unnamed politicians of seeking to scuttle the National Delegates Conference (NDC) set to endorse Raila Odinga as the presidential flag bearer.

In response to a petition by 25 party members to stop the NDC scheduled for February 25 and 26, the party’s secretary-general Edwin Sifuna claimed: “A look at the complaints seeking to stop the NDC is no more than a ruse intended to achieve collateral political objective using the court process. The application is incompetent and should not be entertained by any tribunal,” said Mr Sifuna.

The ODM members, led by John Nchebere, last Friday filed the application at the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) claiming that the NDC was illegally organised, without following the party’s constitution.

The petitioners argued that they had complained and raised objections to the planned NDC, but the party declined to address the illegalities raised.

According to the petitioners, the notice for ODM convention deliberately omitted some clauses of delegates that are mandatory requirements to attend the delegates' meeting, thereby discriminating against some of them.

But Sifuna in his response argued that the PPDT lacks jurisdiction to determine the dispute since the disgruntled members had not exhausted internal dispute resolution to warrant their intervention.

“They wrote to my office raising the complaints on February 16 and a day later, they filed the case when our party has internal dispute mechanisms which should have been given time to handle their issues,” swore Sifuna.

He added that the disgruntled members cannot rely on complaints filed by businessman Jimi Wanjigi over the nomination process for the party’s presidential flag bearer, stating that the complaints are premature since it is only the delegates who will decide the candidate during the NDC.

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

In any event, Sifuna stated that nine out of the 25 members have disowned their signatures appearing on the PPDT petition while two are not party members.

“The application was filed through fraud and illegality since nine of them have denied authorizing the filing. The logical conclusion is that the applicants concocted a dispute and went about shopping for people to support them,” he said Sifuna.

Sifuna attached affidavits from the nine members who claimed their signatures were illegally procured to support the application seeking to stop the NDC.

One of them, Jacob Mule in his affidavit swore that he never consented to filing of the petition and wants the tribunal to expunge his name from the list. “I unequivocally distance myself from the petition and affirm that the same is without merit and filed in bad faith to serve a selfish political purpose. The use of my personal data without my consent violates my right to privacy and I shall at the right time take action,” swore Mule.

ODM leader Raila Odinga addressing supporters in Kinango, Kwale County. February 21, 2022. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

On the complaints that the party did not give an agenda for the NDC, Sifuna submitted that his role was to notify members of the planned conference and that it is the National Governing Council that will approve the agenda on the first day of the meeting.

He urged the tribunal to dismiss the case arguing that they have spent millions of shillings to organise the event and accommodate the more than 3,000 delegates and invited guests from outside the country.

Sifuna dismissed claims by the petitioners that members were not given adequate notice about the planned NDC, arguing that the ODM constitution only allows the party secretary to disclose the venue, date and time of the meeting.