A shakeup is looming in ODM aimed at overhauling its top leadership to give the political vehicle a national outlook ahead of 2022 elections.
The political party founded after the 2005 referendum campaign has embarked on a new strategy to build a stronger bargaining power base in the political space at a time its fierce rival in the past twin elections, ruling Jubilee party is fast disintegrating.
Indications that Raila Odinga is geared for another attempt at the presidency will cushion him from internal party realignments expected to affect almost the entire national leadership accused of corruption and dubious activities that have weakened the once mighty outfit.
Raila, the AU envoy for infrastructure has been forced to bite the bullet by giving a nod to an overhaul scheme aimed at reconstruction of the national elections board and the party secretariat in a bid to arrest the dwindling national support and reclaim its lost glory.
Notorious faces blamed for the party’s weakening appeal are national chairman John Mbadi and his deputy Senator Janet Ongera, executive director Oduor Ong’wen, nominated senator Judy Pareno who chairs the party’s national election board and director of elections Junet Mohamed.
Weekly Citizen has information that plans to have the leaders hounded out of the office are now at final stage and the party’s scheduled grassroots elections could see some changes at the different wings of ODM structure ahead of the crucial 2022 nominations.
The party has rolled out a timetable to conduct nationwide membership recruitment slated to end by December and supporters are hopeful of a free and fair exercise following a raft of recommendations made by a recent internal report that exposed decay in the party.
The damning report particularly heaped blame on the secretariat headed by Ong’wen, the national election board chaired by Pareno and the chairman of national election council Mbadi.
Their style of operations, according to the report has led to previous bungled primaries that have cost the party crucial seats with ripple effects in parliament where ODM is operating on a weakened power footing and downward trend over the years.
The two-day retreat hosted in Nakuru signaled the start of a serious journey to walk the talk in ensuring full implementation of the report which also pointed out that primaries were the party’s biggest vice due to lack of credibility as they have been hardly free, fair and democratic.
Raila formed a taskforce to review the party nominations and give general deliberations on ODM’s state of affairs but after the damning report an urgent three-member team was put into place to look at the findings of the report.
At the Nakuru retreat, the review team led by Pareno, ODM political affairs secretary and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Pareno and Nyando MP Jared Okello cited bungled primaries as the cause of violence and mass exits after ODM elections.
Pareno’s presence in the three-member review team has been fiercely contested by a section of party members and supporters with claims that she was among the perpetrators of dirty activities within the party and therefore mandating her with the responsibility was a mockery.
They are worried of Pareno’s role in the review team and wonder. She stood her ground even as Ong’wen opted out of the team due to pressure over feelings that he and Pareno were the faces behind ODM shambolic nominations.
Notably the review team while presenting their proposal to the NEC during Nakuru retreat technically avoided outlining possible actions against top officials accused of causing confusion in the party but instead focused on issues touching on other areas.
But the team concurred that party secretariat is completely out of touch with the grassroots membership and works without intelligence on information regarding the popularity of the respective candidates before participating in irregular dishing out of certificates.
The party’s robust housecleaning drive kicked off with a list of measure including a rule that compels any candidate seeking election through ODM to be an active member for at least three years prior to a general election.
Ordinarily potential candidates who will not have secured their membership by the end of this year will miss the party’s ticket for 2022 polls in ODM’s latest move to block last-minute defections by aspirants barely days to the election.
Raila has also sought to end the debacle around the sharing of slots for nominated MCAs and MPs through subjecting the nomination lists into intensified verification by the NEC before it presents the final list to the IEBC.
Players are optimistic that the new broom will bring the much desired sanity in the Orange House but at the same time remained skeptical of the effectiveness of the new working pattern if individuals behind the bad image of the party stay longer in the office.
Homa Bay gubernatorial aspirant Joseph Magwanga and nominated senator Rose Nyamunga noted that it was crucial for those who were part of the mess in last ODM elections to quit ahead of grassroots and subsequent elections.
Nyamunga added that the party needed fresh blood with new ideas to take it to the next level and warned that ODM cannot afford to do the same mistakes in 2022 and expect different results.
The former Kisumu women representative was irked on hearing that a group of corrupt individuals holding party positions are marktiming for the elections to embark on hawking certificates.
Nyamunga and a host of other leaders are disturbed that the current office holders are clueless on how to make the party stronger going by their evident failure to organice events to help ODM supporters understand party values ahead of grassroots elections and subsequent 2022 general elections.
Seemingly Raila with the open backing of the state courtesy the handshake deal with Uhuru Kenyatta is crafting a formidable force within ODM to neutralise the influence of William Ruto ahead of their 2022 presidential duel.
Weekly Citizen has reports that Raila has lined up events in the coming days to market ODM party and popularise his presidential candidature in a well-crafted plan to resuscitate the party’s dormant branches across the country ahead of the 2022 election.
ODM Nairobi branch chairman George Aladwa revealed that Raila plans to spend Sh4 billion from the political parties fund kitty to have all its branch offices up and running, complete with staff to enhance its presence at the grassroots.