THE CURRENT PURITY CONTEST IN ODM UNDERSCORES THE NEED FOR A CLEAR MEMBERSHIP/VOLUNTEER POLICY
By Jackson Omondi
Political strategists will be the first to admit that when it to comes to elections, democracy takes a backseat to party interests. In other words, whatever is deemed to be a crucial ingredient of the party’s architecture is given priority. Don’t take my word for it. Just look around you.
The party structure and nucleus remain the most fiercely guarded areas in party politics. With that in mind, its safe to imagine that ODM has crucial personnel who are trusted with party secrets or are privy to the brain trust’s political itineraries.
I would also like to imagine that it’s equally safe to assume that not everyone with a keyboard and internet access has the PM’s ear. Having checked all the obligatory boxes, its time to look at the proverbial elephant in the room.
Does ODM keep a list of all party volunteers? To what extent do these volunteers get to shape the party’s agenda and policies? In most developed countries, campaign volunteers ‘age’ or get ‘wiser’ as the campaign progresses and in effect, earn promotions to paid employees. Does ODM sport such cases? Most senior Obama 08 &12 staffers started off as unpaid volunteers. Some ended up in the White House with their boss.
How many paid staffers make up ODM’s nucleus? I ask these questions because the current back and forth being witnessed in social media is partly a function of the absence of a clear divide between party employees and party volunteers.
A paid employee is expected to comply with party ideals. He or she must meet the expectations laid out in his or her job description. Conversely, a volunteer works pro bono and it is considered political malpractice to importune a volunteer with the same expectations of a paid employee.
It is upon the party to establish the necessary controls to ensure that party volunteers get limited exposure to sensitive information. By doing so, the party would be shielding itself from enemy infiltration and only allowing those who have consented to the confidentiality clause anywhere near top secret information.
Generally, a volunteer is a pliable poodle with zero allegiance and if the party deems them worth having on board, nothing should stop it from doing so.
This is the reason why I find the current situation to be a perfect opportunity to come up with a policy white paper that clearly spells out the party’s policy on party volunteers and recruitment. And if such a policy exists, then for the sake of political hygiene, ODM should come out and give its rank and file a crash course on its contents.
So far, Jubilee is living in Disneyland, enjoying the political cannibalism on our side of the aisle. From the Mulembe calvacade to the social media blitzkrieg, they are having a time of their lives!
It’s time to get back to talking about Jubilee, but before we get there, its incumbent on us to be clear on what constitutes being an ODMer.