Raila Odinga is keen on revamping ODM and has adopted a new strategy while at it. This radical surgery to revamp the party is seen as a preparation to 2022 elections where it is expected ODM will field a presidential candidate. Odinga started shunning party officials and politicians who have been rocking the party from within as he aims to rehabilitate the outfit that has been in decline.
While at it, the ODM leader has assembled a team of advisers comprising MPs, governors and a few other trusted allies to map a long-term strategy to regain grassroots support.
He wants branches activated and grassroots officials involved in e decision making in matters affecting members. Raila’s new more democratic approach is said to have informed the largely peaceful and fair nominations for the Kibra parliamentary seat by-election.
ODM’s previous nominations have been marred by violence and claims of massive interference and bribery blamed on the Secretariat and a few senior officials.
For Kibra, the ODM leader gave express instructions to the party’s National Elections Board led by Judy Pareno to involve all aspirants throughout the exercise.
In Kibra, Raila also adopted a totally different approach by letting grassroots leaders run their own campaigns with minimal involvement of the Secretariat.
“It’s is a new approach for us. We want to involve grassroots leaders as much as possible. These are our foot soldiers on the ground and who understand the real issues,” said Nairobi ODM chairman and Makadara MP George Aladwa.
A meeting on Tuesday brought together 300 grassroots delegates from the five wards in Kibra to strategise on how to win the seat.
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, who attended the strategy meeting, told the Star that ODM was pulling out all the stops.
“We will not only win but win with a commanding margin. We will hold more such meetings so members can feel part of the campaign process,” he said.
Raila who traditionally has attended — and naturally dominated— campaign rallies, appeared to change tactics and expand consultations with other leaders.
“It was surprising and unusual for the party leader to call leaders to take their views on how best to approach the by-election as a team. He has only been attending big rallies during campaigns,” a senior ODM official who sought anonymity said.