Jubilee Party and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) plan to go to the polls early next year in order to inject fresh blood in their respective leadership, a move that could see several current officials kicked out.
The two parties, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, respectively, have reiterated their desire to hold elections in readiness for the 2022 General Election.
The latest announcement about ODM’s resolve to go to the polls was made on Tuesday by Mr Odinga himself, when he declared that the party was shopping for new partners while accusing its hitherto allies in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) of betrayal.
Mr Odinga stated that the polls were geared towards strengthening the party as it prepares for the next elections.
The polls will be held from the grassroots level to the national office in order to give members a chance to elect leaders of their choice, Mr Odinga said while addressing the party’s Nairobi County Assembly members and county officials.
He added that the exercise will be free, fair and transparent, and will be aimed at injecting new blood in the party leadership.
“We have begun the process of membership recruitment. We are doing it digitally and I want to encourage as many people as possible to join the party and help us build a stronger political institution,” Mr Odinga said.
Among those expected to face stiff challenge come the elections include the incumbent deputy party leaders Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, John Mbadi (National Chairman), Edwin Sifuna (Secretary-General), Timothy Bosire (Treasurer), Junet Mohamed (Director of Elections) and Opiyo Wandayi (Director, Political Affairs).
Mr Odinga and the ODM hierarchy largely view the just ended Kibra by-election in which Nasa affiliates Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya fielded candidates as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“We will not allow people who pretend to be working with us to test our unity,” Mr Sifuna told Saturday Nation while referring to the move by both ANC and Ford Kenya.
And to add insult to injury, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka threw his lot behind the Ford Kenya candidate, Khamisi Butichi, during the by-election won by ODM’s Imran Okoth.
Separately, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju on Friday told Saturday Nation that the party’s plans to hold elections were still on, and were tentatively set for early next year.
“The plans for our party elections are still underway and we will be making an announcement soon, but there is nothing new at the moment. The National Executive Council (NEC) is yet to sit and give a roadmap,” Mr Tuju said on phone.
He, like Mr Odinga, assured Jubilee members that the elections will be free, fair and transparent in order to give an equal opportunity to all candidates.
“The systems are not yet ready for people to declare interest in the various seats. But once all the systems are in place, everybody will be free to contest any position they want,” he said.
Already, National Assembly chief whip and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali has declared interest in the party’s national chairman’s position, currently held by Mr Nelson Dzuya.
Mr Washiali argues that he will gun for the position as a “reward to Western Kenya for supporting the ruling party".
A faction of the Jubilee leadership known as Kieleweke has been critical of Deputy President William Ruto, accusing him of rocking the party from within and even calling for his replacement in the coming party polls.
Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri recently told the Nation that it is clear that “Uhuru and Ruto are not reading from the same page on what the party should be doing at this time. Uhuru wants the party to champion BBI. Ruto is leading an internal rebellion against BBI,” Mr Ngunjiri said.
SNUFF OUT WRANGLES
He added that “having a Deputy Party leader fighting against a key national policy issue the party leader supports means Jubilee could easily turn dysfunctional. Unless we change one of them.”
Mr Ngunjiri went on to say that he would not be surprised if there were contestants running against DP Ruto for the Deputy Party Leader position in the party.
The DP’s allies, under a grouping dubbed Tangatanga, have on the other hand demanded the removal of Mr Tuju, citing his open opposition to Mr Ruto.