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ODM initiates revamp ahead of 2022 polls

Friday May 10 2019

ODM

ODM chairman John Mbadi, joined by party members, addresses the media concerning their National Executive Council meeting at Orange house on February 22, 2018. The party wants to improve its structures. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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The Orange Democratic Movement leadership has initiated efforts to revamp the party ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The move comes after an internal audit indicated the outfit could collapse in the absence of its leader Raila Odinga.

Chairman John Mbadi on Thursday acknowledged that there were challenges, “just as all political parties have issues”, especially in the primaries, but hastened to add that they are working to address them.

He however denied claims that the party’s top structure is deliberately running ODM down.

Mr Mbadi, who was reacting to the findings of the audit report, said ODM is the only party in the country with a robust secretariat.

SABOTAGE

The Suba South MP cited his selection as the party’s chairman, asserting that he underwent a rigorous nomination process, just like any other aspirant in the last elections.

He said the party had positively taken the issues raised in the report, which blamed its dwindling popularity on the National Executive Council, National Elections Board and the secretariat.

“The authors of the report did a good job. It reflects the diverse views of the party’s supporters. What we as the party’s top structure now intend to do is to hold a meeting, dissect the report and reflect on the recommendations that it suggests,” said Mr Mbadi.

The audit report warned that ODM party is unlikely to remain united in the absence of Mr Odinga and called for a major overhaul of its structures ahead of the 2022 polls.

PRIMARIES

However, the chairman said the case is not unique to the Orange party.

“They (parties) all have that one person who represents the face of the party. It does not mean the party over-relies on that person, but rather he/she portends a unifying embodiment.

"Just like Jubilee has President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kanu has Gideon Moi, ANC has Musalia Mudavadi and others. But as a party, we will address all these issues as per the recommendations of the report,” he said.

The report, which was presented to the NEC on Monday in a meeting chaired by Mr Odinga and Mr Mbadi, was prepared by a task force headed by Ms Catherine Muma.

The team made a raft of proposals on how the party is structured, its policies, and conduct of primaries and grassroots elections.

The report accuses ODM organs of bungling party primaries, resulting in mass walkouts of aspirants and supporters. The primaries have been said to be not free, fair and democratic, with the secretariat being termed out of touch with the grassroots.

REVIEW

While releasing the report, the party said it would hold its grassroots elections next year and mandated secretary-general Edwin Sifuna to start preparations for the polls.

ODM holds grassroots elections after every five years. The party also formed a three-member team to go through the task force's report and advise on the way forward.

It is headed by nominated senator Judith Pareno, Nyando MP Jared Okello and communications director Philip Etale. The team will then make a presentation before the NEC at a retreat in June.