ODM is the party; and the future is orange
By ELIUD OWALO
| September 2nd 2016
On Friday, 2nd September, 2016, the Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM) will be celebrating its 10th anniversary since its founding in the year 2006. From then to date, the Party has actively and admirably played its due role within the country’s political spectrum in line with its ideology of Social Democracy. Its membership has grown in leaps and bounds across the country, in terms of gender and ethnic composition. Equally, the Party as at today has not only the largest geographical dispersion in the Country but also the highest single representation in terms of Elective political positions including in the National Assembly, the Senate, County Assembly, County Gurbanateriol positions.
Since its inception, the party has realized key milestones in advancing popular political and Socio-Economic causes, especially in widening of the Democratic Space; Promotion of the Rule of Law; the Bill of Rights; and advancement of appropriate Economic Policies in furtherance of its Mandate. These achievements can aptly be enumerated as follows;-
First, following the 2007 General Elections; ODM became the largest Political Party in Parliament with a total of 99 MPs. The Party leader; Hon. Raila Odinga is also convincingly believed to have won the Presidential race but following the blood-bath that characterized the aftermath of the rigged 2007 Presidential Poll, it magnaminantly put the interests of Kenya as a Country first to avert an eminent looming Civil Strife by successfully engaging in a negotiated political process which led to the establishment of a National Coalition Government between it and the party of National Unity.
The ODM Party’s Governance track record based on its performance during the period of the Grand-Coalition Government is aptly in the public domain. Key achievements which the ODM Party is associated with during that period include Comprehensive Land Reforms; Clinical Judicial Reforms;Establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; and establishment of the Women and Youth Enterprise Development Funds; among others.
Second, the Party played a key role in the development of the current Constitution and the conduct of the National Referendum which led to its promulgation in 2010.Towards realization of this objective, the Party exhibited effective leadership and resilience in its pursuit of Constitutional Reforms since Inception despite many challenges in the course of that long and painful journey that was characterized by loss of innocent lives of Kenyans.
Third, since then, the Party has promoted the progressive realization of key Articles of the 2010 Constitution; which Articles include provisions on the Devolved System of Government; Reform of the Electoral System including the latest move to reform the IEBC, and widening of the democratic space by effectively promoting the Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights, among others.
Fourth, in the 2013 General Elections the Party realized a sterling performance by bagging home 16 Gurbanateriol positions, 101 Members of the National Assembly, 17 Senators and 598 MCAs; either elected or nominated on its ticket through the existing legal provisions. The Party is also globally believed to have once more won the Presidential Elections but just as in the year 2007, its Presidential Candidate was elbowed out of National Governance once more through an elaborate systematic scheme that involved the Country’s Security Apparatus; the Electoral Oversight Bodies; the Supreme Court; and the main-stream Media, which were working in cahoots with; under express instructions from; and at the behest of the top echelons of the State.
Fifth, the ODM Party and its Leadership has since 2013 relentlessly exercised its oversight role on the National Government as a responsible, responsive and effective opposition Political Party with respect to Good Governance. The Party, alongside other key stakeholders pursued the OKOA Kenya Referendum initiative in the wake of high-level corruption; ethnicity; nepotism; insecurity; unemployment; and rising cost of living index that has been witnessed in the Country in unprecedented levels since 2013. Although the initiative was nipped in the bud while at very advanced stages, ODM and its leadership has continued to protect the interests of the wider Kenyan majority by unearthing key scandals at national level, including but not limited to the NYS and the Euro-Bond Scandals.
Sixth, the Party has a strong ideological orientation on which its goals and aspirations is pegged. The Party’s performance in this regard has so far been perhaps comparable only to those of major parties in advanced democracies such as the Republican and Democratic Parties of the US; the Labor and Conservative Parties of the UK and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.
In conclusion, it must be appreciated that these key achievements of the ODM Party are attributable to the exemplary leadership and wise guidance of the Party leader Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga and the inspiring ideological orientation of Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o during his tenure as the Secretary General of the Party. The Party Rank and File, in my view owe these two Personalities a great debt of gratitude for its performance to date. Not to be forgotten is the grassroots structures and the highly committed, zealous and fanatical support base on which all ODM Party programmes and activities have been anchored.
The Writer is a Management Consultant based in Nairobi and an Aspiring Member of Parliament for Kibra Constituency
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