ODM invites applicants for ‘22 presidential flag bearer
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party yesterday opened the window for other presidential hopefuls to challenge Raila Odinga for the party’s ticket nearly eighteen months to the general election.
The party’s Central Committee which met yesterday, resolved to officially launch preparations for next year’s elections, while at the same time staking a claim to the deputy governor’s position in Nairobi and indicating that it will handpick a candidate for the vacant Nyamira deputy governor’s seat.
“To remedy the situation in Nyamira, the party has nominated and shall forward the name of the said nominee to the governor for his transmission to the Assembly.
In Nairobi, ODM shall likewise insist on nominating a person from within its membership to be appointed by the governor upon conclusion of the ongoing court processes,” said a statement released after the meeting.
The meeting which was chaired by the two deputy leaders, Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho said the National Elections Board (NEB) has been directed to forthwith begin the process of revamping the grass-roots elections through harmonisation processes, to fill existing gaps in party leadership at ward, branch and county level.
The board according to the party Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, will release a timetable of the exercise in the next seven days.
“Those interested to vie on the ODM ticket in any position including the presidential ticket are free to do so,” Sifuna told a press conference at the party headquarters.
Yesterday, party Director of Elections Junet Mohammed said the party will be prioritising preparations for next year’s General Election.
Asked whether the party has dropped the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns to concentrate on the party primaries, Junet said the two will be handled together.
“We will handle the two matters concurrently, we will however prioritise the nominations for the time being,” Junet told the People daily.
The NEB has been directed to immediately begin the process of identifying the party’s presidential candidate for purposes of the 2022 election, by inviting those interested to express their interest.
“The board shall cause an advertisement to this effect to be carried in both print and electronic media, within the next three days,” stated the statement.
Party members will be watching with interest, individuals who will front their names to fight it off with Raila for the presidential ticket.
Raila is yet to publicly declare that he will be presenting himself for the presidency in 2022 although close allies insist that he will be in the ballot.
Already, Joho who is doing his second term as the Mombasa governor has declared, that he will be vying for the presidency in 2022 on the party ticket.
Making the announcement, Joho said he was confident he has built a huge political base across the country to mount a presidential campaign.
Joho said Coast had supported other regions for the presidency and it was time they returned the favour.
“My supporters know me. When I decide to go for something I mean it. I cannot lose hope,” said the governor last year.
“I have assessed myself and come to conclude I can be the President of this country. We (at the Coast) have been complaining of being marginalised for far too long. That narrative will disappear when we get power,” he said.
Joho said he was shocked to hear some Coast leaders claim the region cannot produce a president, yet it had produced politicians who had played key roles in Kenya’s history, including the struggle for independence.
Oparanya has also declared his interest for the party ticket but has been flip-flopping on the matter.
He recently announced in the presence of the party leader that he had shelved the interest but in a campaign rally in Matungu, he said he was still in the race.
Yesterday’s meeting directed that in order to protect and advance the interests of the party across the country, the Central Committee will forthwith insist on structured and formal negotiations with partners and allies on all matters.