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Acid test for ODM as battle for top seats takes shape

By James Mbaka | November 18th 2013

By James Mbaka

Kenya: Lobbying for top ODM party positions has intensified ahead of February’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) to pick new officials.

The party faces an acid test to tame fall-outs and ensure regional and gender balancing in leadership positions while at the same time injecting freshness into the party’s top leadership by embracing youthful leaders.

The so-called ‘Young Turks’ have been a thorn in the flesh within the ODM, accusing some leaders of micro-managing party affairs and excluding marginalised groups.

Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende will face South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya in the battle for the chairman’s position.

A source within Orange House, who preferred not to be quoted, said there have been silent wars and intensive lobbying to have the position of chairman awarded to Marende for his loyalty to the party.

Outgoing chairman Henry Kosgey is said to have opted out of the race to defend his seat.

The source added that emissaries have been sent to Nyamweya to convince him to bow out of the race and allow Marende to clinch the seat unopposed.

But speaking to The Standard, Nyamweya said he would go for nothing short of the chairmanship, warning his critics of a fierce battle at the NDC. “I will only accept the position of party chairman,” Nyamweya said by phone.

Marende said he would offer himself to the delegates to decide during the NDC. “I am not being pushed by anyone. I welcome my competitors to face me at the ballot,” Marende said.

Outspoken Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba will face Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura for the Secretary General’s seat while Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will defend his organising secretary seat. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is eyeing the vice chairman’s seat.

Bomachoge Chache MP Simon Ogari will battle it out with his Kitutu Masaba counterpart Timothy Bosire for the position of party treasurer.

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