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Ababu given one week to hand in resignation letter

By Rawlings Otieno | July 15th 2016

A top organ of the Orange Democratic Movement Thursday gave its renegade Secretary General Ababu Namwamba a week to make clear his party position.

The Raila Odinga-led party threatened unspecified internal sanctions should he fail to do so.

The two-and-a-half-hour National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at Orange House, Nairobi, chaired by Raila appointed Nominated Senator Agnes Zani as acting secretary general.

Ababu, who is also the Budalang’i MP, has insisted that he has resigned his secretary general position following frustrations by the party.

“NEC noted that Ababu has been absent from duty for several weeks now. NEC resolved to give him seven days to resume duty or formally communicate his decision to the party for appropriate action,” said Dr Zani.

Zani argued that the position of the Secretary General within the party is endowed with enormous responsibility and cannot remain vacant.

The meeting also discussed the position of Vice Chairman Paul Otuoma, who is also the Funyula MP.

Ababu and Dr Otuoma announced their resignation a fortnight ago, triggering a series of reactions, which have seen the party try to control the damage.

However, the party did not appoint any person in acting capacity for the position of vice chairman.

Otuoma has been serving alongside two other vice chairmen; Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok and Aldai MP Adan Keynan.

The party’s top organ at the same time approved the names of the five-member National Elections Board (NEB), and resolved to conduct party primaries in February next year; six months before the polls.

The party’s Central Management Committee had recommended that a new board  oversee party elections and nominations exercise.

Board members

Members of the new board include East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Judith Pareno, who has retained her position as the chairperson, Robert Arunga, Norah Anindo, Ibrahim Rashid and Edward Nyale as members.

“Following the disbanding of the National Elections Board by the NEC in April this year, the meeting today (Thursday) adopted a proposal by the Central Management Committee of the party to reconstitute a new board to oversee party elections and nominations exercise,” said Zani.

The party explained the amendment of nomination rules so that its party primaries are held in February 2017 to give sufficient room to successful candidates and the party to prepare for the general election.

According to the amended rules, the primaries for the nomination of a member of county assembly, governor, senator, national assembly and woman representative will be by way of universal suffrage of all registered party members.

Early primaries

The rule to have the primaries at least six months to the general election will apply across the country in a staggered manner, but within the same month.

In April, the management committee had mooted the idea of only conducting the nominations six months before the elections in areas they categorized as Zone A.

The areas that had been mapped out as Zone A comprise Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Embu, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu counties.

At the same time, the party directed that anyone holding party a position and wanting to vie for a seat in the general election vacate the position by the December 31 to pave way for preparations for the party primaries.

The ODM’s top decision-making organ expressed concern over “the contempt and impunity” with which the leadership of the National Assembly was treating the court order to re-admit Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi into Parliament.

Rule of law

“We call upon the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and the leadership of the National Assembly to respect constitutional institutions and the rule of law,” said Zani.

The party also received two defectors; Moses Adagala and Samson Olima from Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya party.

The duo will now seek to oust MPs John Waluke (Sirisia) and Omondi Anyanga (Nyatike) respectively in the forthcoming elections.

At the same time, the CORD has threatened to go back to the streets if the parliamentary committee probing IEBC commissioners does not stop its proceedings against the electoral agency.

The Opposition argued the work of the joint parliamentary select committee could be sabotaged by the parallel activities of the Samuel Chepkonga-led National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

CORD affiliate party, ODM, during its NEC meeting resolved to stage mass protests if the Chepkonga committee will not stop interrogating IEBC chiefs.

“We demand that the Samuel Chepkonga-led committee suspends with immediate effect its deliberations or else we revert to the street protests until a genuine process is realised,” said Zani.

Raila’s party believes the emerging confusion, uncertainty and duplication of roles in the two parliamentary committees looking into the process of the electoral body are a deliberate move by the Jubilee administration to frustrate the work of the joint parliamentary team.

But the Chepkonga-led team has maintained it is the only one legally mandated to handle the stalemate.

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