Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two camps fight to control ODM

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Executive Director Magerer Langat (Right) with party national election board chairperson Judith Pareno (Centre) and board member Dr. Joseph Misoi shortly after announcing list of candidates who will participate in the upcoming party election on February 28, 2014 to March 1 at the party headquarters in Nairobi on February 5, 2014. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Executive Director Magerer Langat (Right) with party national election board chairperson Judith Pareno (Centre) and board member Dr. Joseph Misoi shortly after announcing list of candidates who will participate in the upcoming party election on February 28, 2014 to March 1 at the party headquarters in Nairobi on February 5, 2014. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI 

By NATION TEAM
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Orange Democratic Movement politicians contesting key party positions met face-to-face Thursday at a joint campaign rally in Nairobi.

Two camps are in a tight race for the party’s leadership in the national elections to be held later this month.

Thursday, supporters of the two groups clashed as the contestants sought the support of Nairobi delegates.

The party will elect its leaders at a National Delegates Conference which convenes on February 28 in Nairobi.

Supporters of candidates attempted to outdo each other at the Bowling Club in Nairobi’s Parklands area.

Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and nominated senators Elizabeth Ongoro and Dr Agnes Zani, who are in the race for the post of secretary-general, were all in attendance.

Mr Odinga’s supporters are said to favour a line-up comprising Dr Paul Otuoma (chairman), Dr Zani (secretary-general), Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang (vice chairman) and Nyaribari Masaba MP Timothy Bosire (treasurer).

But an aggressive campaign by Mr Namwamba has caused jitters within the party.

His team has Joho (deputy Party leader), Josephat Nanok (chairman), Aden Keynan (deputy chairperson), Simon Ogari (treasurer) and Reuben Ndolo (organising secretary).

At Thursday's rally, divisions began to emerge when Ms Ongoro arrived at the venue and her supporters noisly welcomed her.

Earlier, Dr Zani, who is said to be the preferred candidate of some top party leaders, arrived quietly at the venue.

When Mr Namwamba arrived, Ms Ongoro rushed to receive him, leaving Dr Zani seated at the tent erected for aspirants.

Dr Zani did the same when Dr Otuoma, the Funyula MP who is contesting for the party chairmanship, arrived.

The meeting was disrupted after some opposing delegates began fighting when Dr Zani was speaking.

“I have worked hard. I have sponsored many motions in the Senate. I am a Kenyan just like those from Nyanza, Kisii or anywhere. I have never insulted anyone. My opponents are my close friends,” said Dr Zani.

Further divisions emerged when Dr Zani and other leaders left when Ms Ongoro was addressing the delegates.

—Reports by Isaac Ongiri, Jeremiah Kiplangat and Francis Njenga

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