I will clear the mess in ODM and sweep the house clean as we approach the next elections, party secretary general Ababu Namwamba has said.
He said the disbandment of the party’s National Elections Board is one of the major shakeups aimed at streamlining ODM ahead of the polls.
Namwamba said he has discussed the matter with leader Raila Odinga, who has “given me, among other officials, the green light to ensure we make arrangements for successful party primaries that has been a thorn in the flesh of ODM.”
He said a new, leaner and more professional elections board and nomination framework will be put in place.
ODM leaders, aspirants and supporters have welcomed the disbandment of the party’s NEB, saying the board had outlived its usefulness and resorted to “brokerage”.
This will help end irregularities particularly during nominations, said Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga, former Nyakach MP Pollyns Ochieng’, Parliamentary aspirants Omondi Gwonyo (Uriri) and John Anditi (Kisumu East) and Vihiga nominated MCA Ben Ombima.
“That is a very good move and I can now see a Raila Odinga Presidency. I can only wish I get an opportunity in the next board with other persons of integrity so that we push this agenda. I thank our secretary general Ababu Namwamba for being firm,” Ruth said.
She said they are yearning for more women leaders in ODM adding that the new board must be gender sensitive.
Ochieng’ asked ODM to replace the team with a competent one to handle thorny nomination issues.
“Those who win must be declared winners and those who lose told they have lost fairly. Not like the last polls where aspirants still don’t know what results they got,” he said.
Namwamba said the ODM National Executive Council resolved during a two-day retreat in Maanzoni, Machakos county, last Thursday to disband the NEB.
This came barely a day after Namwamba warned board members they risk facing legal action and being fired “if they continued to take bribes from aspirants”.
Gwonyo said: “Many party loyalists had no faith in the board because most of them had turned to brokerage instead of spearheading their mandate as per the party constitution.”
He pointed out that some members conspired with the “highest bidders”, whom they handed certificates after nominations, thus dealing a major blow to ODM in some constituencies.
Anditi said the unfair nominations by the NEB had created voter apathy among party supporters, affecting Raila’s presidential votes.
“The party should now put a lean team that will strive to ensure we maximise the number of ODM elected leaders and give an opportunity to the victors and not the vanquished,” he said.
Ombima said: “We are fully behind the move to disband the NEB, as we hope it will ensure sanity in the party.”
Namwamba noted that the party’s main agenda is to ensure Raila wins the presidency next year “and we will not accept any monkey business that may dim our course.”
He reiterated that nobody, including himself, will be given a direct nomination ticket.
The party NEC retreat concluded last Friday adopted a resolution that legislators should support the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that seeks to achieve gender equity in representation in Parliament, Namwamba said.
“All ODM MPs are hereby whipped to fully support and vote for the bill in both the National Assembly and the Senate,” he said.