Raila, Mudavadi rivalry rattles ODM
Posted Saturday, February 4 2012 at 22:30
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Musalia Mudavadi took separate roads to meet ODM delegates as concern grew over the future of the Orange party.
While Mr Odinga was meeting delegates from Ukambani region, Mr Mudavadi was meeting others at the Coast as the two leaders were drumming up support for the upcoming delegates conference to pick the party’s flagbearer in the general elections.
But even as the two leaders were speaking to the delegates, concern was growing that Mr Odinga’s opponents might secretly back Mr Mudavadi to knock the premier out of the presidential race.
An uncharacteristically bold Mr Mudavadi has declared that he will take on Mr Odinga in a contest for the ODM ticket and has insisted that the party primaries be conducted at the county level. (READ: Mudavadi vows to run against Raila)
But key Odinga allies like Bondo MP Oburu Oginga, the PM’s brother, and ODM chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo have asked Mr Mudavadi to drop his demand that polls be held in the counties. (READ: ODM primaries for top seat to be done in counties)
“Even in America I do not think we can have a scenario where President Barack Obama changes positions with his deputy Joe Biden to run for the presidency,” Mr Midiwo said.
He expressed fears that Mr Mudavadi’s activities were causing friction in the party and urged him to “slow down”.
However, the unarticulated concern by Mr Odinga’s supporters is that if the party uses counties as electoral units, the PM’s adversaries might manipulate supporters in populous regions such as Rift Valley, Central and Eastern to back Mr Mudavadi.
The strategy would help knock Mr Odinga out of the presidential race at the party level.
Mr Odinga’s principal rivals, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, draw strong support from their backyards in Central, Rift Valley and Ukambani regions.
The three have declared their intention to block Mr Odinga from succeeding President Kibaki.
On Saturday, Roads minister Franklin Bett, who supports Mr Odinga, told the Sunday Nation he was aware that some delegates allied to the PM’s rivals were planning to stop Mr Odinga by voting for Mr Mudavadi.
The minister said that Kalenjin voters have been misled to believe that Mr Odinga was the cause of their problems.
However, he said he was in ODM to stay despite the fact that the party no longer enjoyed the support of the community.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, Mr Mudavadi expressed confidence that if the primaries were held at the county level he would floor Mr Odinga.
His proposal is that the 47 counties be used as polling centres, bringing together 60 women, men and youth each per county to form a collegiate.
These would create 180 delegates for each of the counties. After the vote, to be supervised by the electoral commission, the results would be transmitted to a national tallying centre where the winner would be called.
The DPM reckons that the system would not only be easier to manage but also cheaper. He put the cost at Sh40 million.