ODM National Delegates Conference set for today after case dismissed

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna (centre), Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito ( left) and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, addressing the media at the Chungwa house on February 24, 2022. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The ODM National Delegates Conference (NDC) will be held today as planned after a tribunal dismissed a case that sought to stop it.

The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) ruled that the application to stop the NDC, which is set to endorse party leader Raila Odinga as the presidential flag bearer, was premature and lacked merit.

According to the tribunal, party members opposed to the NDC had not demonstrated that they had exhausted the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanisms before approaching the court. It upheld a preliminary objection raised by ODM that PPDT lacked jurisdiction to handle the dispute.

Some ODM members led by John Nchebere last week filed the application to stop the NDC scheduled for today and tomorrow, claiming that the organisers of the delegates’ meeting did not adhere to the party’s constitution.

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

According to the petitioners, the notice for the convention deliberately omitted some clauses of the constitution on attendance, thereby discriminating against some delegates.

ODM, through lawyer Jackson Awele, argued that PPDT lacked jurisdiction to determine the dispute since the disgruntled members had not approached the party organs to have their concerns addressed.

According to Mr Awele, the petitioners wrote to the party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna over the complaints on February 16 and a day later, they filed the case without allowing the party’s internal dispute mechanisms to take its course.

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.

"The complaints are premature since it is only the delegates who will decide the candidate during the NDC," said Awele.

Sifuna swore in his affidavit that nine out of the 25 members have disowned the 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 authorising the filing. The logical conclusion is that the applicants concocted a dispute and went about shopping for people to support them,” said Sifuna.

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