Party nominations, fresh leadership – Why Jimmy Wanjigi’s Kisumu tour is causing jitters in ODM
The Nyanza tour by businessman and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presidential hopeful Jimmy Wanjigi has continued to rattle feathers within the party's leadership.
Wanjigi who landed at the backyard of party leader Raila Odinga on Thursday, September 16 said his entry into the 2022 presidential race has unsettled certain officials in ODM who want to stifle the changes he has in store for the party.
In the changes, Wanjigi wants party delegates elected instead of them being selected through a consensus.
- Race for presidency: Oparanya explains how Raila is different, stands better chance this time round
- Isaac Ruto still bitter that his CCM party never received any coin from Political Parties Fund when it was part of NASA
- Govt says it has mapped out regions notorious for sparking pre-elections violence in Nyanza, Western
"I am a life member of ODM. And I want to advise my officials, I hear the party is trying to carry out some elections in Nairobi for places as far as this. This party must embrace the democratic spirit for which it was founded," Wanjigi said while addressing journalists after he landed in Kisumu.
Wanjigi further called out certain officials within ODM for what he described as 'undermining the democratic space and foundation' of the party.
"We are not going to allow a few individuals and officials to undermine the democratic foundation and basis of this party and if they play with us we will sweep all of them from the party. Democracy must be upheld. I am confident my party leader does not hold the same view as those individuals within the party," Wanjigi said.
Wanjigi's Nyanza tour which is set to begin at Kisumu before he visits Migori, Siaya and Homa-Bay counties was described as 'private' by a section of ODM regional leaders.
Nyanza ODM Coordinating Committee secretary, Philip Makabongo, said Wanjigi’s visit is speculative.
“We have endorsed our party leader for the presidency and we are just asking Wanjigi to be sober in his utterances to avoid inciting others or create tension among supporters, Makabongo said.
Kisumu ODM Coordinating Committee chairman, Ayiecho Olweny, also denied knowledge of the visit.
“I am not aware of the visit. I am just getting it from the media and that is why I am wondering how he will be getting those delegates here because I am the county coordinator,” Olweny said.
However, after landing in Kisumu Wanjigi said that he does not need any permission to popularise the party through political tours in the country.
"There was some letter flying around from some official here saying they are not aware of my visit. Do I have to ask for an invitation? I don't understand. Do I need to ask people whether I am welcomed somewhere?" Wanjigi posed.
Wanjigi who revealed that the delegation he seeks to address will primarily consist of ODM members said he was sure that a number of party officials will be present during his meet the people tour.
"This is a free republic. I am an ODM member. I can travel anywhere in this country to popularise this party the best way I know. I am a die-hard member of this party and nobody should try to restrict me from my movements. Wakome sasa!," Wanjigi said.