Since 1902

Why Orange elections are Raila’s major nightmare

            ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) and party members listen as outgoing Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o speaks at Orange House, Nairobi, last week.

By Stephen Makabila                                           

The ODM leadership has admitted it faces headaches in ensuring next month’s elections meets constitutional requirements and regional balance.

It is also wary of whether the elections would strengthen or weaken it depending on how the aftermath is dealt with.

Informed sources indicate ODM leader and CORD principal Raila Odinga will be running for the presidency in 2017 and is using the party elections to rejuvenate it ahead of the next General Election. Under the ODM constitution, the party leader becomes its automatic presidential candidate in case of elections.

“Raila is going to retain the party leadership position come the elections because there is no ODM without him,” Suna East MP Mohammed Junet, a close ally of the former Prime Minister, told The Standard on Sunday.

Major headaches

ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat told The Standard on Sunday: “Yes, we have two headaches we are dealing with, one being how to ensure gender equity, meaning eight of the 26 positions up for grabs have to go to women, and the second being regional balance.”

Magerer hinted the party could work out a formula where each of the eight former provinces get at least three positions, meaning many aspiring candidates in the party’s strongholds of Nyanza and Western may not realise their ambitions.

“We are going to see how to go about all these challenges when the application period closes on January 27,” added Magerer.

More than 4,600 delegates will elect new national party officials during a conference to be held at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani, from February 28 to March 1. “We are out to ensure free and transparent elections. In the past, people have used Raila’s name to get political positions, but this time they must face the ballot,” said Magerer.

While former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma are battling for the party chairmanship, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho wants to become Deputy Party Leader.

Parliamentary Investment Committee Chairman Adan Keynan will battle it out with fellow MPs Manson Nyamweya, Millie Odhiambo and Dalmas Otieno, Senators Otieno Kajwang’ and Janet Ong’era, and governors Evans Kidero while Josephat Nanok will battle it out for the vice-chair.

Senators Agnes Zani, Elizabeth Ongoro, James Orengo and MPs Nicholas Gumbo, John Mbadi, Ababu Namwamba, Ken Obura and Joseph Chepkwony will be seeking the post of Secretary General.

MPs Abdikadir Aden, Simon Ogari, Timothy Bosire and Omondi Anyanga will be seeking the post of party Treasurer while former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa and MPs Junet Mohammed and Opiyo Wandai will be gunning for Organising Secretary. Junet said there are some of the candidates whose interests are not with the party and that they were being watched closely. Likuyani MP Enock Wamalwa Kibunguchy   said Western Province should get the Secretary Genera’s slot through  Ababu Namwamba’s candidature.

“I personally back Ababu Namwamba for the Secretary General position because he is equal to the task,” added Kibunguchy. 

win the deputy party leadership position with ease. This is a reward for loyalty to the party, organisational skills and need to consolidate the Orange support in the Coast region.

Equally, the party chairmanship is likely to go to Marende, with  Otuoma who has expressed interest in the same position being considered for  another position.

Also being roped in is Butere MP Andrew Toboso to take care of interests of Kakamega county, and is likely to get one of the technical secretary positions within the party. The objective is to consolidate the Western voting block.

Fierce contest

According to multiple sources within the party, a fierce contest for vice-chairmanship is likely to pit Senator Otieno Kajwang against Governors Evans Kidero and Josephat Nanok.

Kajwang’s candidature is supported on the basis of long-term reform credentials and loyalty to both the party and Party Leader Raila Odinga.

 The candidature of  Governor Nanok is being fronted largely by party officials from the KAMATUSA communities.

Sources further indicated nominated Senator and technocrat Dr. Agnes Zani is being viewed as the front  runner for the position. Her candidature is being supported  by delegates across the board irrespective of regions. She is being viewed as an able replacement for Prof Anyang Nyongo in terms of ability to articulate party ideology and party position on emerging issues of national importance.

Gender issues

 Her candidature is also being fronted on the basis of gender parity and consolidation of the ODM support base at the Coast Province.

Whereas Governor Joho is of Arab origin, Dr Zani  is a Mijikenda from Kwale County. The Miji Kenda population is more populous than the Arab population at the Coast.

A senior MP from Luo Nyanza stated that Suba MP John Mbadi and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi are both being considered for the post of Deputy Secretary General of the Party.

The treasurer position is likely to go to Kisii with Ogari and  Bosire being the front-runners.

Sources further indicated the position of national organizing secretary is likely to go to  Mbalambala MP Abdikadir Omar Aden to consolidate the Party support base in North Eastern province.

The deputy Organizing Secretary position likely to go to either Taita Taveta Women Rep. Joyce Ley, Migori Women Representative Denittah Ghetti or Busia Women Rep Florence  Mwikali Mutua.