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ODM waives membership fee in drive to enlist supporters

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | June 30th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga during a past interview with The Standard at his residence in Karen, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has waived party membership fee in the drive to enlist supporters ahead of the 2022 polls.

Supporters will not pay Sh100 ordinary membership fee on registration for the next three months.

ODM and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with Deputy President William Ruto have for the last couple of months launched an aggressive recruitment exercise across the country.

Yesterday, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said that the party decided to waive the fee to avoid locking out supporters seeking to join but are facing harsh economic times due to effects of Covid-19.

“In light of this, the party leader Raila Odinga has directed my office to waive the membership fee for anyone wishing to join our party in the next three months beginning July 1,” he said.

He added: “We urge our supporters to use this three-month window to enlist as members of the party in order to be eligible to participate in the grassroots elections and nominations."

The party has been carrying out continuous membership recruitment, which Sifuna said has increased the numbers significantly.

“As the fastest growing political party in the country with massive grassroots support, there is need to continuously grow our numbers to continue being ahead of the rest,” he added.

 ODM National Elections Board (NEB) recently released a draft regulation to guide elections of party officials.

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The grassroots elections will begin at the polling stations by registered party members before the polling station office bearers become the delegates for electing the sub-branch officials, who will later become the delegates for electing the branch officials.

The branch officials will in turn elect the county officials who then elect the national officials.

Members seeking to run for any party office will have to pay Sh5,000 for national office, Sh1,000 for county office, Sh500 for branch office, Sh200 for sub-branch and Sh100 for polling unit offices.

ODM supporters have also been asked to verify their membership status since only those registered shall participate in the grassroots elections.

“In compliance with the requirement to conduct public participation, the board requests members of the party to acquaint themselves with the draft guidelines and submit any comments they may have to the board,” said ODM NEB chairperson Catherine Mumma.

According to the regulations, once elections are held at the polling station, sub-branch, branch and county levels, the outfit shall convene the NDC in Nairobi.

The convention will be summoned to elect members to the national offices, including the National Governing Council, the National Executive Committee, the ODM Women’s League, the ODM Youth League and the ODM Disability League.

Some of the positions to be contested at the NDC are the party leader, two deputy party leaders, national chairperson, secretary-general, treasurer among other slots.

“The National Delegates Convention shall (thereafter) convert into the National Electoral College for purposes of electing the party’s presidential candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections,” states the draft regulations.

The draft states that at the county level, there will be elections of 20 officials for each county office, constituting of chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary, deputy secretary, organising secretary, deputy organizing secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, youth representative, a person with disability, special interest/or marginalised representative and nine committee members.

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The elections at the county will be conducted through the delegates system, with officials elected at each branch being the only delegates eligible to participate in the county elections.

At the constituency, the party will elect 20 branch officials that will include ODM mainstream office, Women League, Youth League and Disability League.

The party will use consensus and voting by delegates to pick party officials.

“Election through consensus building: Consensus Building shall be the first method to be applied in the party elections. The party encourages members to apply this method in all elections in the first instance provided that consensus reached does not violate the principles provided,” states the document.

In the event that consensus fails, the officials will be picked through voting by members or delegates.

“Where consensus has failed, voting by eligible members and delegates shall be conducted through any method including the counting of raised hands, through queuing behind candidates (mlolongo), and by secret ballot,” the document states.

UDA has been using county volunteers in recruitment and registration of new members.

"The role of these volunteers is to strictly champion and assist in the recruitment and registration of party members. A consultative process at various levels will also identify, constituency coordinators, ward coordinators, polling centre coordinators," said UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina in a previous press release.

The party has so far registered more than four million members through the county coordinators, politicians and local leaders.

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