Raila Odinga calls ODM top organ meeting amid rebellion

ODM leader Raila Odinga, right, is expected to address thorny issues threatening to tear the party apart. [File, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga will today chair a meeting of the Central Management Committee (CMC) amidst growing discontent in his 17-year-old party. 

The party’s top decision-making organ meeting is expected to address thorny issues that threaten to tear it apart.

However, ODM National Chairman John Mbadi said the meeting’s agenda will be to approve the party’s books of account.

“The Central Management Committee meeting convened by our party leader will only be about approving our party’s books of account, we do not have the discussion of parliamentary committee leadership as an agenda of this meeting,” said Mr Mbadi.

Mbadi, Deputy party leaders Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Director of Elections Junet Mohamed and Secretary for Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi, among other leaders, are expected to attend the meeting.

Wafula Buke, who is an ardent ODM supporter and a second liberation hero, said the party is currently in a state of hopelessness after Raila lost the presidency.

Mr Buke said it was sad that the ODM leader was “under capture” by a team that orchestrated his loss in the just concluded General Election and he needs to crack the whip for the party to survive.

“Raila needs to do away with his kitchen cabinet, which is responsible for the mess we are in, since the party needs to be rejuvenated if it is to survive going forward. He needs to prepare for it to be vibrant even when he exits the political scene,” he said.

Buke said Raila needs to take a cue from Tanzania’s first President Julius Nyerere, who admitted his mistakes when the Ujamaa system he had been championing failed, saying this earned him respect among citizens.

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

He said it was upon Raila to have people who represent the ideals of the party in its top leadership unlike at the moment where most of them are pursuing their selfish interests, which have seen its fortunes dwindle over the years to the chagrin of supporters.

The ODM’s pentagon members, who were central to its formation, like President William Ruto, have since left the party to join hands with others. Ruto left in 2013 and joined Uhuru Kenyatta to form Jubilee coalition and beat Raila in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

Others are ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi who contested the presidency in 2013 and came a distant third while Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala joined Uhuru’s side and were appointed Cabinet ministers.

The last time ODM attempted to hold elections, they were disrupted by the infamous ‘men in black’ when it appeared that Ababu Namwamba, who was then Budalang’i MP, and Hassan Joho, then Kisauni MP, were seeking to take over the party leadership.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua said Raila needs to create systems and structures that keep ODM alive even when he exits the political scene. He said at the moment, Raila seems to be the glue holding the party together and his absence will likely lead to its collapse.

He said Raila should recognise and reward talent in the parliamentary leadership that reflects the face of Kenya.

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