Wanjigi warns of schemes by ODM to handpick flag-bearer

Monday, September 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Businessman and presidential hopeful Jimi Wanjigi (centre) when he met Orange Democratic Movement grassroots leaders recently. Photo/PD/FILE

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presidential hopeful Jimi Wanjigi yesterday warned of a plan by the party’s leadership to handpick its presidential candidate.

Wanjigi in a letter to the Secretary General Edwin Sifuna accused some party officials of plotting to use “consensus” to handpick its torchbearer for the 2022 presidential race.

He warned such a method would be an affront on democracy and would kill the party altogether.

The businessman termed the consensus approach “a gross violation of the party constitution, vague, improper and clearly flies in the face of the mood of members who wish to participate in a transparent democratic process to reinvigorate the party for the 2022 elections,”

“As matters stand now, your office and the National Elections Board is acting contrary to the party constitution.

This is the highest form of sabotage the consequences of which will be consigning Kenya’s most vibrant party to political oblivion,” said Wanjigi in the letter addressed to Sifuna.

Democratic process

The businessman maintained his demands for a democratic process in picking candidates is anchored in the constitution that has governed ODM in its 16 years of existence.

“I have seen media reports quoting party officials stating that office bearers will be selected by some form of consensus. That approach is a gross violation of the party constitution.

It is vague, improper and clearly flies in the face of the mood of members who wish to participate in a transparent democratic process to reinvigorate the party for 2022 elections,” said Wanjigi.

“Article 6 provides that “where an office is contested by more than one candidate, the vote shall be decided by a simple majority.”

Wanjigi also argued that article 6.2.2 clearly states that elections of national officials shall be conducted through secret ballot, adding that the constitution also clearly prescribe the same letter and spirit for branch and grassroots elections.

“For grassroots elections, Article 7.14 demands universal suffrage of members at the polling station level.

Nomination rule 3.2 requires the National Elections Board to ensure a free and fair electoral process, while rule 10 requires the NEB to conduct elections and not seek consensus.”

He went on: “Rule 17 requires that where more than one candidate applies for nomination as president there shall be an election to nominate party candidate.

Anyone acting contrary to these clear demands can only be sabotaging the party, its leader and members and this cannot and should not be allowed in any shape or form.”

“The reports I see in the media of elections by consensus are a clear violation of a well-articulated party constitution, will invite rigging and clearly smells of skullduggery.”

He reminded Sifuna that the party constitution requires that officials are elected every five years to give the party an opportunity to reinvigorate its structures.

Sifuna last week told off Wanjigi over his earlier calls for a National Delegates Conference to pick the party’s flag bearer for the 2022 presidential election.

Sifuna, said the party will use any of the four procedures laid out in its regulations to pick a its candidates for various seats.

Credible processes

“The rules provide for four ways of nominating party candidates. You can have nomination through consensus, direct ticket, delegates or through universal suffrage,” Sifuna said. 

He was however quick to note that in cases where primaries are conducted, the party will endeavor to ensure credible processes.

“We have been given specific instructions by the party leader that this time around, the party nominations must be free and fair,” he said.

The ODM Secretary-General stated that any interested aspirant should acquaint themselves with the party’s rules before seeking to be nominated. 

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