Raila calls for talks over ODM 'rebels'

Muhoroni MP Onyango K’Oyoo addresses the press at St John’s ACK Milimani Church on July 14. PHOTO/MAURICE ALAL
Muhoroni MP Onyango K’Oyoo addresses the press at St John’s ACK Milimani Church on July 14. PHOTO/MAURICE ALAL

ODM leader Raila Odinga has called for crisis talks today with a top party committee over the participation of defectors in grassroots elections.

Several people who abandoned the party in the 2013 general election have expressed interest in rejoining it, a move resisted by party members.

The 12-member Central Management Committee will meet to resolve the impasse, a senior team member told the Star yesterday on condition of anonymity.

Party members have disagreed on whether the defectors, branded as rebels, should be accommodated and allowed to seek leadership positions.

ODM postponed its first batch of elections in Marsabit, Wajir, Kajiado, Migori, Kilifi and Vihiga counties from July 31 to between August 20 and September 2

In Nairobi county, the elections will be held from September 5 to 8.

MPs loyal to Raila, especially from his Nyanza stronghold, have also questioned the loyalty of the returnees.

Raila has said the returnees are welcome but they must prove their loyalty.

“The defectors had abandoned ODM and joined Cord affiliates," Raila told Mayienga FM’s morning talk show on Tuesday.

"Others joined Jubilee parties and have been seen opposing party initiatives. They are no longer trusted because they can join our enemies anytime.”

A section of leaders, backed by ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba, say the defectors should be accommodated.

“ODM has started a new journey and we shall not chase away anybody from the party because we need them all,” he said.

Howver, ODM National Elections Board chairperson Judy Pareno has said only those who rejoined one year before the grassroots elections will be allowed to vie for positions.

Yesterday the Star established that the meeting will also resolve a dispute surrounding the sanctity of the membership register.

There have been claims that the register was tampered with in the run-up to the botched 2013 National Delegates Convention.

"The elections board has not deleted names of those who have died or those who flatly defected to other competing parties," a senior ODM official said yesterday.

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