Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is facing the challenge of keeping some of its senior politicians ahead of party primaries. They are fleeing the party following fears that the party may not conduct free and fair nominations.
The nominations are expected to be held next month (mid-April). With a majority of senior politicians knowing that they might miss the nomination slot, many of them have opted to go independent ahead of the closure of party hopping window that is closing in.
The politicians have five days left to declare the party they will ride on during the August 9 polls.
Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri has since joined the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) after talks in ODM indicated that Simba Arati is the preferred candidate.
Ongeri’s move was not anticipated since he was a life member of the party.
“I invite all governorship aspirants to meet in the field, and I want them to show me their experience and I show them mine,” Ongeri told a rally at Senior Chief Musa Nyandusi Nyanturago Stadium in Nyaribari Chache constituency.
ODM is famed for bungled nominations, with critics blaming the unfair nomination for the party’s failure to clinch the majority of seats in the last two elections.
The law prohibiting party hopping after primaries have made the situation worse.
Other key political figures that have left the party include Kakamega deputy governor Philip Kutima, former Kajiado governor David Nkedianye, former Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma, former Cabinet Minister Dalmas Otieno has also left ODM in favour of Jubilee as he vies for Migori governorship, Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime and the Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi.
The Luo-Nyanza region is the most affected, with a majority of the politicians with better financial muscle or better relations with the ODM party leader, guaranteeing that they will get nominated.
Party chairman John Mbadi was in the recent past quoted, saying that politicians James Orengo and Oburu Oginga will win in the nominations.
“We won’t allow persons dishing money left and right to hijack the positions, for they may betray and ruin Raila’s policies and ideologies,” said Mbadi, who by virtue of his position will play a role in the nominations. He, however, changed his stand last week.
“Everyone will have to go through the party primaries. We have repeatedly said so, and I shudder why some people want to think otherwise. ODM will go for universal suffrage,” he declared.
Kenyans can only wait to see how the ODM party will conduct her nomination process.