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Orange party NDC to hold sway on pre-election pact, running mate

By - | November 4th 2012

By Stephen Makabila

ODM’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) that has been pushed from this month to December could chart the final political game plan of Prime Minister (PM) Raila Odinga’s third presidential bid.

The PM is a man under intense focus, having remained on top of opinion ratings over the last five years, as the preferred leader to succeed President Kibaki.

And on December 7 and 8, 5,000 party delegates assemble in Nairobi for a two-day NDC, which party national chairman Henry Kosgey says would be a jamboree aimed at turning around the party’s overall standing ahead of the March 4 General Election.

“Everything is going on well. We have a committee under the chairmanship of Local Government Minister Paul Otuoma fine-tuning the preparation. We want the NDC to turn around the fortunes of the party by putting it above the rest,” Kosgey told The Standard On Sunday.

Kosgey explained that the NDC had been scheduled for November 29 to 30, followed by the official launch of Raila’s presidential campaigns on December 7 to 8, but due to logistics and costs, the December dates will be used for the NDC and presidential campaign launch.

Consolidate support

The NDC will come only three days after the closure of pre-election coalition making as per the new Constitution (December 4,) and delegates may therefore either approve any deal the PM may have reached with a like-minded party or given him a free hand for a post-election coalition just in case he does not win in round one but qualifies for run-off.

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There have been reports of ODM engaging Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement and William Ruto’s URP, but nothing concrete has come out of the initiatives.

The PM is also yet to make public his likely presidential running mate, and the NDC could have either a say by electing one, or he may use the occasion to name one.

Last month, party National Executive Council meeting in Naivasha   endorsed Raila as the presidential candidate, but was silent on running mate. Those mentioned as possible running mates include Kosgey, Imenti Central MP, Gitobu Imanyara, Agriculture minister, Sally Kosgei, Roads minister, Franklin Bett, and Fisheries minister Amason Kingi.

“I have been lobbying for the position and it’s no secret. I am ready for elections and given the support I have cultivated, I am sure of carrying the day at the NDC if delegates are to elect a running-mate,” said the Tinderet MP.

Kosgey added, “As things stand now, Rift Valley people have no major stake in ODM, but if I land the position, that will change. We will be sure of winning at least 50 per cent of the votes in the region.”

He said the expansive province holds key to Raila’s third presidential bid, but only if his running mate is picked from the region.

Kosgey maintained that the party has the ability to win the Marc 4 General Election without entering into a pre-election arrangement with other political parties.

 “The PM already has a winning team and what is remaining is to consolidate his support across counties. Those seeking ODM’s hand for a pre-election coalition are playing survival politics,” he said.

 He mentioned Rift Valley, Coast, North Eastern, Nyanza, Western, and Nairobi as the party’s strongholds.

Leaders pushing for Kosgey to be the PM’s running mate include East African Community Minister Musa Sirma and some MPs from Nyanza.

The Orange party strategists said the NDC would come after rallies in all counties to popularise Raila’s presidential bid.

The ODM Inter-Lobbies Group (OIL) kicked off its meetings in Mombasa following last week harmonisation of?the PM’s more than 100 campaign lobbies.

OIL chairman Jaoko Oburu Odinga,?Secretary General George Nyongesa, and Fora-Trust treasurer Aging’o Rapemo?led the Mombasa meeting where more than 200 officials of various groups attended.

“The meeting was basically to explain to them that our campaigns are now to be co-ordinated under OIL following our Nairobi meeting where over 100 lobbies were brought under the umbrella,” said Fora-Trust CEO Nyongesa.



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