Wednesday, February 26, 2014

United stand in vote against 2005 constitution gave birth to Orange

Orange Democratic Movement Presidential hopefuls, from left Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyaga, Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Najib Balala during a rally at 64 stadium in Eldoret in 2007. The Orange Democratic Movement was born from a movement which successfully opposed the 2005 proposed constitution in a referendum. PHOTO/FILE

Orange Democratic Movement Presidential hopefuls, from left Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyaga, Raila Odinga, William Ruto and Najib Balala during a rally at 64 stadium in Eldoret in 2007. The Orange Democratic Movement was born from a movement which successfully opposed the 2005 proposed constitution in a referendum. PHOTO/FILE 

By LUCAS BARASA
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The Orange Democratic Movement was born from a movement which successfully opposed the 2005 proposed constitution in a referendum.

The name was proposed by now Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala during a “No” rally in Kisumu.

The “No” side, whose symbol was an orange, carried the day in the referendum.

The group brought together Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Joe Nyagah and Mr Balala against supporters of the proposed constitution led by then President Kibaki.

The name “Orange” originated from the referendum ballot cards in which a “Yes” vote was represented by the banana and a “No” by the orange.

The “No” vote, which ODM backed, won with 58.12 per cent of Kenyans voting down the proposed constitution.

Following the rejection of the constitution, President Kibaki dismissed his entire Cabinet, which the ODM said was a step in the right direction but called for immediate elections, claiming the Kibaki regime had lost its mandate. The Kibaki administration resisted the calls.

ODM, however, emerged as a major opposition party with Kanu and pushed for a new constitution. Following their united stand in the referendum and responding to a threat by a newly formed Narc-Kenya party, the leaders of Kanu, LDP and some smaller parties decided to team up for the 2007 general elections under ODM.

However, lawyer Mugambi Imanyara managed to register ODM as a party before the coalition did, forcing them to use the ODM-Kenya banner.

The party later split into the Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya (ODM) and Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K), following differences over its presidential candidate for the 2007 polls.

While Mr Odinga, Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Nyagah and Mr Balala opted for ODM, Mr Musyoka stayed in ODM-K while Mr Kenyatta, who was Kanu chairman, opted out after the referendum and later declared his support for President Kibaki of PNU.

The two factions held elections for presidential candidates on consecutive days for the 2007 polls with Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka emerging victorious in their camps.

Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka then faced President Kibaki in the general election.

President Kibaki was declared winner in circumstances described as “questionable” by some observers.

ODM disputed the results and violence erupted.

ODM, with the majority seats, became the largest party in Parliament after the elections with 99 members. It went on to win three out of five by-elections in early 2008.

However, a recent opinion poll showed ODM has lost the bragging rights as the most popular party to President Kenyatta’s TNA, although with a small margin.

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