Raila rules out direct ticket in Orange party primaries
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Raila Odinga has ruled the possibility of direct tickets for aspirants seeking various seats in the coming General Election.
Instead, he assured members that the party will conduct transparent and fair nominations.
He pointed out that the poor nomination process previously, especially in the 2017 General Election, cost the party parliamentary seats in its strongholds notably Kisii and Nyamira counties.
Raila who was receiving politicians who defected to the party, said the party failed to win parliamentary seats in Gusii region, despite landing top posts such as the governorship, senate and Woman Rep in the region because of botched primaries. He said the party also won 65 Ward Rep seats; 45 in Kisii and 20 in Nyamira.
“The nomination of candidates in our party is not a new thing, but for us now it is a pressing matter. We have found out that if not properly conducted, not only hurts the person who feels that they have been robbed of their right, but costs the party more,” he said.
Raila indicated that a taskforce formed to audit challenges facing the party, had singled out botched primaries.
“Out of a string of reasons, the nomination issue came top in the list of key findings, prompting a consensus among members of the top organ of the party,” he told the politicians.
Those who defected were Onyonka, former MPs; Robert Monda (Nyaribari Chache, ANC) and Simon Ogari (Bomachoge Chache, Jubilee).
Former Kisii county ODM coordinator Samuel Omwando also ditched Deputy President William Ruto and returned to his old party.
“I am happy to be back home, and I am here because I respect and love Baba,” Onyonka said, stating that he will work hard to make sure that the whole Kisii region is united under ODM.
The defectors were escorted to Orange House by Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati who is seeking the Kisii County governorship.
On his part, Monda who claimed he moved to ANC after the nomination debacle, appealed for a transparent process, if ODM is indeed focused on rebuilding a strong and popular party in the region.
“As I return home, I want to appeal to you to rein in party officials, to ensure we have a transparent nomination exercise, and this way the party will grow stronger in Kisii,” he added.
Arati has tapped Monda as his running mate while Onyonka will run for Senate in an emerging alliance, that is said to be giving Senator Sam Ongeri and Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure who are also eyeing the seat sleepless nights.
Arati used the ceremony to parade what he described as his dream team.
“The team before you is the one that gave us a lot of headache, but now it is back and going forward, the whole of Kisii region will be ODM,” he said.
Omwando said it reached a point where it became difficult to serve ODM in Kisii because those who headed the party in the region micro-managed it.
“But now because of a change of guard, I am happy to be back to serve diligently as we ensure that Baba becomes the fifth President of Kenya,” he said.
Evelyn Ogendo who is eyeing Kisii Women Rep seat said coming back to ODM was not a big deal, but getting the ticket is usually a costly affair.
“We are appealing to you Baba to ensure that we completely end the ‘elbow politics’ that have dominated the party,” she said.
On his part, Rodgers Onyancha, who has been one of UDA’s national youth coordinators, said he defected to ODM with 3,000 youth because the Orange party has progressive ideologies.
Raila said the party is now keen not to fall into the same pitfall that hurt its popularity in 2017.
He said the party did its best to have a transparent process but greedy aspirants interrupted a system which had been established to manage the process openly.
“Such people enlisted goons and paid them to disrupt the smooth process and also bribed returning officers and that has really hurt the party because it has paved the way for unpopular people to come to the office,” he said.
The ODM leader explained that the party will employ four options to nominate its candidates. He said consensus will be one of the four options, while the delegates system will be the second option.
“The third option will involve the use of party members with membership cards and not just ID cards,” he said.
He asked the aspirants to have a dialogue among them and agree on the best.