Reports that the ODM is planning a radical surgery at Chungwa House after a series of poll defeats must be treated with the utmost contempt.
Those who know this party and how it conducts its affairs know for sure that its dwindling fortunes are not due to the National Secretariat but rather to a powerful cartel close to the party leader that often pulls the strings behind the curtains.
To claim that the Secretariat aloof and unable to discern political realities and plunging the party into avoidable defeats and embarrassment is to scapegoat with weak targets.
The ODM Secretary-General who heads the National Secretariat constitutionally reports to the Central Committee and works under its direction. The truth is Edwin Sifuna cannot be held responsible for an electoral defeat that was based on poor strategy and one that was hijacked by an unpopular regional kingpin to fight misplaced wars with the Deputy President all in the name of leveraging for national leadership.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is an unpopular man in Kwale County and the decision to allow him to be the face of the campaign meant the ODM candidate was going to start the race as an underdog facing protest votes.
Joho went as far as printing posters with his image in a botched effort to project Boga as his puppet. All these efforts worked against the ODM candidate.
One wonders then, why the party should sacrifice Edwin Sifuna for mistakes committed by Joho who micromanaged that campaign and handpicked party agents from Mombasa?
Party supporters in Kwale watched in dismay as strangers were imported into their neighborhoods to do their job. ODM is by far the most popular party in Kwale but it asked to be defeated at those elections and defeated it was. Raila Odinga enjoys high rates of popularity in Kwale but he was asked to stay away from those seeking self-glory.
In everyone’s estimation, Sifuna is by far the most dynamic of all Secretary Generals the ODM party has had, and to attempt to shift the blame upon him will result in making a bad situation worse.
Although he missed being elected as the Nairobi in 2017, Sifuna remains a Luhya leader who holds the record of having garnered the most votes at any election. Not even Kijana Wamalwa and Muslim Mudavadi who both ran for president come close to matching Sifuna’s direct votes when he bid for Nairobi Senate.
We also should not also forget that the ODM Party Constitution gives its Secretary-General limited powers to be the Party Spokesperson and be responsible for the management of the National Secretariat and to be the principal custodian of Party records.
For ODM to regain lost glory, it must rid itself of factionalism which is undermining institutional power and allow people’s will to prevail.