A major standoff has hit the Raila Odinga-led ODM party after an April fools day joke turned true, jeopardizing the chances of the party leader from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta as the next head of state.
This is after Raila Odinga failed to table his nomination papers in time seeking the party mandate to be the flag bearer in the upcoming 2022 general elections.
The matter now rests with the Central Committee which is the highest decision-making organ with the high-ranking party officials remaining silent about it.
Confirming the same, ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said that the decision to announce the position was arrived at by the committee, which further directed the National Elections Board (NEB) and on the CC can give the way forward.
“It is the CC that instructed NEB. I am only a Secretary to CC. For now, CC has not made any decision. If and when they make, we shall make it public,” said Sifuna.
Reports indicate that there is a possibility of re advertisement of the position, with the former premier given some period to submit his papers again.
“NEB could re-advertise and say that those who submitted did not qualify or did not meet the criteria. But that could trigger a storm.
“Unless they advertise for fresh application but tell Joho and Oparanya not to apply and that their application is still valid. Either way the party is in Catch 22 situation,” said the source.
Sifuna had on last Friday cleared the air that Raila did not submit his papers by the March 31, 2021 deadline leaving only the Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya as the only interested candidates.
“At the close of the application period, the party received only two applications from Joho and Oparanya. These will be processed in the usual manner by the NEB,” said Sifuna.
This is after word cum prank had come out from Catherine Muma stating that three candidates had submitted their papers for flagbearer with Raila included.
“The NEB shall scrutinize the three applications, vet the candidates as required by the ODM elections and Nominations Rules and subsequently, thereto announce the next processes and time taken in accordance with the ODM constitution,” said Mumma, a statement Sifuna later said was an April Fools Day prank which had been swallowed by the party’s rivals.
Raila’s absence in the ballot is likely to cause uproar from among his supporters with the Homa-Bay legislator Peter Opondo already giving out what to expect.
Taking to Twitter, the MP stated that “Raila Amolo Odinga will be on the ballot in 2022 to be our 5th President ‘apende, asipende!.”