Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ababu: To vote by acclamation is to mock democracy

PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATTIAH  Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba confers with ODM party leader Raila Odinga during a Cord parliamentary group meeting at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha on February 10, 2014.  Namwamba wants the ODM delegates register published for scrutiny before the February 28 elections.

PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATTIAH Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba confers with ODM party leader Raila Odinga during a Cord parliamentary group meeting at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha on February 10, 2014. Namwamba wants the ODM delegates register published for scrutiny before the February 28 elections.   NATION

By JUSTUS WANGA
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Orange Democratic Movement delegates will decide on the voting method when they start their meeting on February 28, but some contestants have voiced their discontent with a suggestion that vote by acclamation was at table as one of the options.

“After they assemble on Friday, one of the first assignments delegates will embark on is to determine how they want to elect party officials. It could be secret ballot or acclamation,” said Judith Pareno, the chairperson of the ODM National Elections Board.

The revelation that acclamation—which involves delegates shouting their approval of a candidate — has elicited sharp criticism from some aspirants like Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba who is seeking to be elected the party’s Secretary General. He favours secret ballot.

“Acclamation which is like making noise is a mockery of democracy. Secret ballot is the best. And although some argue that parties are like clubs which can just use this method (acclamation), they forget that even lesser (football) clubs like AFC and Gor Mahia recently conducted their elections through secret ballot,” he said.

Mr Namwamba has called for the publishing of delegates register in advance. He argues this will keep away imported “noisemakers” that he says might be used to influence election outcome in a certain direction.

The conference to be held at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium will include at least 3,000 delegates drawn from all parts of the country.

Branch officials have been asked to pick the delegates list from the party headquarters starting Tuesday.

ODM is part of the Cord Coalition, together with Wiper and Ford-Kenya, the alliance that lost the general election to the Jubilee Alliance of URP and TNA.

ODM delegates, especially the county chairpersons, will begin arriving in the city from tomorrow ahead of their respective teams. They are supposed to pick accreditation badges and confirm accommodation arrangements.

According to Ms Pareno, accommodation places for delegates within the city will be kept secret until the last minute to avoid possible manipulation by candidates.

Other delegates from far away counties in North Eastern and Rift Valley are expected in Nairobi by latest Thursday. Those from neighbouring counties like Kiambu and Kajiado will arrive on Friday morning.

The official session is expected to start at 11am on February 28.

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