ODM leader Raila Odinga is in an aggressive campaign to bring back politicians who defected from the one-time largest political outfit in what officials have termed a grand scheme for 2022.
Yesterday Raila officially received some former MPs who ditched the party in the run-up to 2017 General Election over alleged bungling of party nominations.
Former lawmakers Jakoyo Midiwo, Reuben Ndolo, Elizabeth Ongoro, Oyugi Magwanga, George Omondi Muluan and Omondi Anyanga were yesterday received by Raila at Chungwa House and handed caps branded with the party colours.
Interviews with top party officials revealed Raila’s grand scheme in consolidating the party by reaching out to former members as well as netting new allies in preparations for the next polls.
Raila, while addressing the press, said the members returned to the party "without any form of intimidation or coercion".
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“These are members who stepped aside and joined other parties or contested as independent candidates in the last poll. They have agreed to come back to join the party,” said Raila.
Party officials, led by chair Chairman John Mbadi, Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi told The Standard the outfit had embarked on an aggressive move to consolidate the party’s support base countrywide.
Another senior official confided that more politicians were set to join the party in the coming days.
Mr Mbadi said the party was courting political players from across the country as part of its political game plan for the next election, while strengthening its structures in resolving some of the issues that made some of the politicians ditch the party.
He said the party was already addressing some of the issues that made the former lawmakers ditch the party, stating that ODM commissioned a report that was currently being implemented.
The task-force report had pointed out that the party’s organs deliberately bungled party nominations, a move that drove away members who felt shortchanged.
Mr Wandayi said yesterday’s event marked the beginning of a long journey in revamping the political outfit, which is largely expected to sponsor Raila’s next bid for State House.
Sifuna linked the decision by the former members to rejoin to the party’s “revamped nomination process that has inspired confidence” for future exercises.
He listed Kibra and other recent by-elections where ODM conducted “free and fair” nominations and proceeded to win in the elections.
Midiwo said that most of them were angry with the party because of the manner it conducted its primaries, stating that it was better to fight from within. “We had differences but it is good that we have resolved them,” he said.
Omondi challenged ODM to streamline its processes to avoid a repeat of the mess at the nomination stage.
Although Raila has not indicated whether he will run for presidency, the latest strategy gives strong indication that he still harbours presidential ambitions.