Loyalty questions dominate Orange Democratic Movement elections
By Rushdie Oudia and James Omoro
| August 25th 2015
The upcoming Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) elections are causing friction within the party, especially the handling of perceived rebels and defectors.
Days after the party’s National Elections Board (NEB) ruled that ‘party hoppers and rebels’ would be vetted before allowing them to participate in grassroots elections despite a blanket amnesty, ODM Chairman John Mbadi urged party supporters to discern and elect loyal leaders.
Mbadi asked supporters to be wary of leaders who once elected “will ruin the party’s stability and then decamp to the rival coalitions come 2017.”
“It is unfortunate that some people contest seats in this party but later ditch it for other parties during elections. I want to warn our supporters to be wary and shun such candidates,” he said during a meeting in Homa Bay County with Kabondo Kasipul sub branch officials on Sunday.
The party’schairman told the members to consider loyalty of candidates to the party as a factor during the elections.
The party will conduct grass roots elections in seven counties which include Wajir, Kajiado, Migori and Kilifi at the end of this month.
“We cannot have a party where people do what they wish at any given time in complete disregard of the party’s constitution. We need leaders who are disciplined to enable the party move in unity,” Mbadi added.
Mbadi has in the past been vocal against allowing the perceived rebels and party hoppers taking part in the grass root elections.
His remarks in Homa Bay sparked immediate opposition in some quarters. Homa Bay Town MP Opondo Kaluma faulted Mbadi, saying he should be seen to embrace all party members including those who previously defected. ODM members, he added, should be allowed to freely exercise their voting preferences without being influenced by the party’s top brass.
“Mbadi needs to tone down since such statements can only brood unwarranted disenchantment and propaganda among some sections of our party membership,” said Kaluma.
Mbadi’s position was, however, backed by MPs Sylvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul) and Fred Outa (Nyando), who said the party needed to elect leaders who are going to dedicate their effort to the success of the party in the next polls.
Outa said party members know themselves so well and will not elect those whose loyalty is not clear. “Pretenders will not have a chance to ruin our party this time round,” said Outa.
He stated that the party’s door is open to those who want to join ODM but they too will be put under scrutiny for a period of one year before they are allowed to contest for seats.
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