Raila Promises Radical Changes in ODM Amidst Concerns Party is Losing Popularity

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ODM chief Raila Odinga has kicked off a rebuilding plan for the party, prioritizing fixing of the way the party conducts its primaries which has been cited as the biggest vice in the outfit.

This follows a task force report heaped blame on ODM Secretariat, National Executive Committee and National Elections Board accusing the key organs of bungling party primaries during elections which occasioned mass walkout by potential candidates.

A fresh storm erupted over Raila’s strategy to steady the outfit with some insiders calling for the resignation of top party officials.

At the center of what is fast turning to be a revolt in the Orange Party is the inclusion of some ‘tainted’ officials in a crucial committee announced to champion its revitalization.

“Oduor Ong’wen, Judy Pareno, Ogla Karan; I appeal to the three of you to step aside from responsibilities that seek to stop the free fall of our party,” director of strategy Wafula Buke said.

Buke, in a rare attack of the party’s top leadership, singled out Ong’wen, Pareno and [deputy treasurer Ogla] Karan.

The ex-political detainee also demanded that both Pareno and Ong’wen withdraw their membership from the committee.

The party had on Monday named a three-member committee to devise a rescue strategy to steady the party.

Part of the mandate of the committee is to review the process of party nominations and propose the best ways to implement recommendations in the explosive report that has indicted top party organs.

Initially, the committee had Ong’wen, Pareno – who chairs the National Elections Board – and Nyando MP Jared Okelo.

But Oduor Ong’wen who is the executive director opted out of a team formed to implement a damning internal report that indicted the party’s top organs. His place has been taken by Secretary for Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi.

Buke accused Ong’wen of blatantly ignoring Raila’s directive to have the party hold directors’ meeting in 2017 and “instead made a decision single-handedly leading to staffing the party’s list with names of close relatives and friends”.

He claimed Ong’wen nominated his wife and nephew as MCAs at the expense of loyal party members.

The nomination list, he said, was intentionally submitted at the last minute leaving the party with no chance to effect any adjustments.

“How the hell do you get your wife and her nephew nominated as MCAs and still have the courage to face party members and then do recommendations on how to resolve the problems you have caused?” the party director of strategy asked.

But Raila has said he will strengthen the party to have more MPs, Senators and Governors in the forthcoming polls.

Already plans for a grassroots elections for party officials will kick off next year, in a move that will help recruit more supporters and candidates.

The countrywide party polls will seek to “clean ODM for us to be strong.”

“We are washing the ODM party to be strong, through the party elections we will weed out dead stock and build loyalty,” Odinga said.

With new officials, the orange party will ensure better nominations to end the headache of squabbles over party tickets.

He said through a clean nomination process, the party will seek to have more legislators in parliaments, MCAs and other elected leaders.

“We need to have more legislators and elected leaders and the best way is through a free and fair nomination process and a strong party,” Odinga said.



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