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Raila pledges free and fair ODM nominations to avert polls fallout

ODM leader Raila Odinga at the funeral of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo at Ndori Primary School in Gem, Siaya County. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has pledged to implement a task force report on how ODM nominations were bungled before the 2017 elections.

Raila said ODM has identified the gaps that led to the shambolic nominations.

He added that the party has already implemented a raft of changes proposed by the Catherine Mumma-led team.

“We will implement (Catherine) Mumma’s report. We now know what went wrong and we will not have a repeat of the same,” Raila said yesterday in Gem, Siaya, during the burial of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.

“The issue of nominations has caused us a lot of challenges. Our nomination rules are that all party members must participate in the exercise. This means that our nomination is the same as the General Election.”

Did not intervene

He said although he is the party leader, he did not want to interfere with the structures to guide nominations.

Jakoyo is among the leaders who ditched ODM in 2017 to contest as an independent candidate after complaining of underhand dealings in the nomination exercise.

He returned to the party last year. 

Raila Odinga addresses mourners at the funeral of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Yesterday, Raila explained why he did not intervene after Jakoyo lost in the ODM nominations and instead blamed it on the party structures.

“If I was to intervene then Jakoyo and my brother Oburu (Odinga) could have been in Parliament. We have party structures but we have already identified the gaps in the nomination exercise,” said the ODM chief.

Raila admitted that there were flaws in the party’s primaries, and said the system has been overhauled adding that the structures put in place will ensure free and fair selection of candidates.

He, however, explained that the complex nomination exercise and the huge resources needed, had hampered efforts to implement the party’s structures effectively. 

The report by the task force recommended a delegates system through an electoral college.

Electoral college

“ODM should consider using the electoral college nominations system since it is more cost-effective and less amenable to infiltration by its opponents compared to the universal suffrage system, which is also mostly associated with violence. The electoral college system also ensures only strong candidates are nominated,” the report states.

Irregularities during nominations threatened to tear ODM apart ahead of next year’s elections with some leaders expressing reservations against going for the party’s ticket.

ODM leader Raila Odinga, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga (center), and Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o at the funeral of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

In the electoral college system, 58 delegates will pick the party’s nominee for MCA position, with the same number picking MP nominee.

Lost key members

For governor, senator, and Woman rep positions, the number will depend on constituencies per county.

For instance, Nairobi with 17 constituencies will have about 986 delegates while a county like Lamu or Isiolo with just two constituencies will have 156 delegates.

In the 2013 and 2017 elections, ODM lost some key members and seats after members decamped to contest as independents and in other parties

Witty brokers, members of the Constituency Election Panels, and returning officers capitalised on weak controls at the Elections Board to frustrate desperate aspirants in the chaotic party primaries.

Some brokers handed some aspirants fake certificates while other popular candidates missed out after bungled nominations.

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