Raila unveils ODM’s roadmap just days before Jubilee launch
Posted by African Press International on August 28, 2016
JUSTUS WANGA -1 | Jumapili, Agosti 28, 2016
Opposition chief Raila Odinga is revamping his ODM party, two weeks before his rival President Uhuru Kenyatta launches his re-election vehicle, setting the stage for what promises to be a titanic battle ahead of the 2017 election.
Spanning 12 months, the roadmap outlined by Mr Odinga on Saturday seeks to revitalise his presidential ambition in what his supporters have billed as his fourth and final stab at the prized seat.
He said the plan involves hosting all key party stakeholders later in the year to “renew their commitment” in an event where the milestones, achievements and plans for the country will be discussed. The plans target unemployment, social inequality, protecting devolution, ending corruption and safeguarding the Constitution.
Next week (September 2), there will be a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Orange Party, a fete to be replicated in the counties. Dinner has been planned for life members.
The renewed vigour by Mr Odinga, who has mastered the art of rebounding in politics, rebuts the popular perception in the coalition that he could back someone else for the presidency.
It dims the hopes of Cord co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, who have been actively seeking his endorsement as the coalition’s presidential torch-bearer next year.
On Saturday, the former prime minister said in an interview with the Sunday Nation that the celebrations marking the first decade of the party’s existence would not be a one-off event but a series of activities that will end in August next year.
“We are rolling out a new aggressive membership drive while at the same time celebrating and recognising the older members who have stuck with the party,” he said.
Mr Odinga also revealed that a campaign targeting grassroots leaders themed around the values and beliefs of the movement had started.
“The idea is to instill in grassroots members the unique position the party holds and what distinguishes it from the others. The idea that the party stands for change and is ranged against the forces of the status quo.”
With these events starting the same week Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party will be launched, it appears September is the pivotal month in the election calendar, with the two leading parties keen not to miss out on any aspect of media coverage going forth.
Just two days after he unveiled a new party elections board to be chaired by Ms Judy Pareno, Mr Odinga has also created a division to specifically look into the affairs of female candidates at a time the country is grappling with ways of realising the two-thirds gender rule.
SHORE UP HIS FORTUNES
“The office is partly a recognition of the critical role women have played in keeping the party going and a recognition of the unique challenges women go through in seeking elective posts, and which the party wants to address. All in-house analyses show that women, followed by the youth, form the biggest and most loyal support base for ODM,” he said.
The plan includes periodic tours to his strongholds as well as those considered battlegrounds to shore up his fortunes.
Mr Odinga will also be seeking to reassure supporters from Busia County that their interests are catered for in the Orange house after two prominent party officials with roots there, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba (secretary-general) and his Funyula neighbour Paul Otuoma (vice-chairman), stepped down, citing frustration.
Equally, he left no doubt that though ODM is in a coalition with Mr Musyoka’s Wiper and Ford-Kenya, led by Senate Minority Leader Wetang’ula, he would not hesitate to protect the interest of “the change movement”, as the party is known among its followers.
“Although ODM is in a coalition, it always keeps its eyes on the original goals and whenever it feels that those are in jeopardy, it is always ready to launch a fight-back to safeguard the original vision,” he said.
The three parties are occasionally involved in tiffs, with those pitting ODM against Ford-Kenya being the most pronounced.
Mr Wetang’ula’s Ford-K stakes a claim on all counties that made up former Western Province, such as Kakamega and Busia, two areas Mr Odinga’s party has an immense presence in.
After an unsuccessful bid to amend the Constitution through the Okoa Kenya referendum push, followed by concerted campaigns against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission bosses, who are now headed home, Mr Odinga appears keen to refocus his energies on the party, the largest by elected representatives in the country.
Members of ODM see it as the successor of all previous pro-reform grassroots movements.
“We therefore have the mandate to conclude the aspirations set out by Ford, Ford Kenya, NDP, LDP and later the National Rainbow Coalition,” Mr Odinga said.
The ODM party was conceived in 2005 as a result of the referendum on the Constitution. Other notable members of the Orange team then were Mr Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala. The humiliated “Yes” camp coalesced around then President Mwai Kibaki.
The country had to wait for another five years to get a new set of laws.
In 2006, ODM became a fully-fledged political party, registered by the Registrar of Societies, before the office of the Registrar of Political Parties was established.
From botched primaries in February 2014 that left a big blot on its face, to the nomination fiasco of 2013, ODM has had its fair share of upheavals.
Mr Odinga must look into these shortfalls if he is to emerge triumphant in 2017.
Nation news Kenya
Commentary: Raila’s strategy above will break CORD. Watengula is stubborn and will not accept to give way to Raila. The same is Kalonzo with high ambition. The two were hoping that Raila would let one of them be the opposition flag bearer. After Raila has now revamped his ODM party and his staunch supporters saying he will not be substituted, things will be difficult in CORD. The revamping of ODM should be sign enough to enlighten Watengula and Kalonzo.
(API – Korir)