Raila embarks on fresh move to revamp his ODM party

Azimio leader Raila Odinga unveiling ODM Party membership and verification exercise in Siaya town. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has embarked on a mission to rejuvenate his support bases and build grassroots support for his ODM party before the grassroots elections.

The Sunday Standard has established there are concerns within the party about the decline in its activities that has given its rivals a platform to eat into some of its support bases.

Yesterday, Raila and some of the party’s stalwarts were in Siaya to launch a membership drive targeting new members ahead of the grassroots elections next year.

This is happening as its rival UDA party continues with its relentless quest to penetrate the Nyanza region through a group of allies including ODM rebels.

However, Minority Leader in the National Assembly and ODM’s Secretary of Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi described the membership drive as a continuous process to strengthen the party.

“This is going to be a continuous process and it is not tied to any timelines. Remember, the voting population is expanding every day as children transition into adulthood,” said Wandayi.

As part of the efforts to further entrench his support in the region, the ODM leader has also planned to visit Suba for two consecutive days. He will visit Rusinga and Mfangano Islands.

The tour comes barely a week after President William Ruto’s allies led by PS Raymond Omollo and a host of politicians visited the area to market UDA and the Kenya Kwanza government’s credentials.

Other allies of the president including ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo have also stepped up efforts to market the president’s bottom-up agenda as they seek to change the region’s political landscape.

Raila’s party, however, remains unfazed by their efforts and believes the Orange party’s strength in the region remains intact. 

According to Wandayi, the party’s new plans will position ODM as a party of choice now and in the future.

“What we have started is part of a long-term plan to strengthen ODM and position it as the party of choice, now and in the future,” said Wandayi.

He said that the country will be seeing a lot of ODM activities at the grassroots nationwide in the coming days.

Governor James Orengo noted that they will rejuvenate and reenergize the support base in Siaya and across the country.

“This is just the starting point. We are looking forward to today as our party leader sets us off on a major recruitment drive for the party. We want to light up our grassroots base starting with Siaya,” added Orengo.

The membership launch is expected to attract thousands of supporters and members from the region.

According to the ODM party Director of communications Philip Etale, the party grassroots elections will be announced in the next meeting of the party’s National Executive Council which will be held before the end of the year.

Efforts by ODM come at a time when the party is battling several flames at the grassroots that threaten to wane its support.

In Homa Bay, a section of ODM officials in Karachuonyo Constituency ousted the constituency party chairman, George Maigo, and replaced him with Timothy Adede.

The party was quick to dismiss the changes and described it as a coup.  ODM’s co-coordinating committee said the leadership changes were done irregularly.

The Committee Secretary, Ong’ondo Were, said there were no proper reasons for ousting Maigo.

He said they do not recognize the ODM leadership changes in Karachuonyo Constituency.  “The changes done in Karachuonyo lack proper reasons, therefore, the status quo remains,” Were said.

He mentioned that the party had allowed its officials to fill positions that were vacant due to death or defection.

The Kasipul MP said a party official can only be ousted if he or she had quit ODM and returned to the party.

“We have done our inquiry and concluded that Maigo had neither quit ODM for any political party nor contested any seat as an independent candidate after being elected the constituency chairman. Therefore, he is still the chairman,” Were said.