PARTY PRIMARIES

Why Raila's ODM might not go for elections

The Orange has instructed its supporters to give priority to consensus building in what is viewed as plan to avoid fallout that comes with hotly contested polls.

In Summary
  • According to ODM National Elections Board (NEB), the party will only consider voting in of leaders in places where consensus has failed flat.
  • The elections will begin from grassroots (polling station), sub branch (ward), branch (constituency), county and national levels.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga during the swearing in of NEC and NDC officials at Chungwa house, Nairobi on August 13 2020.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga during the swearing in of NEC and NDC officials at Chungwa house, Nairobi on August 13 2020.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM may after all not go for the vigorous grassroots elections and instead adopt a consensus method to fill in all the vacant positions.

The Orange party—which has had its grassroots elections delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic—has instructed supporters to give priority to consensus building in what is viewed as plan to avoid fallout that comes with hotly contested polls.

Consensus is where aspirants sit down in a boardroom and agree amongst themselves on who shall hold which position in the party.

In 2014, ODM’s National Delegates Convention was disrupted and polls ended in chaos after the infamous 'men in black' stormed Kasarani Gymnasium and destroyed election materials.

According to ODM National Elections Board, the party will only consider voting in of leaders in places where consensus has failed.

“Consensus shall be the first method to be applied in the party elections,” read part of communication from NEB chairperson Catherine Mumma to supporters.

She added: “The party encourages members to apply this method in all elections in the first instance.”

The new directive, which is a departure from the National Executive Committee’s directive on the mode of elections, is contained in a special NEB’s handbook for party’s elections 2021.

In February, Raila chaired NEC meeting that decided the party will hold elections from the polling stations to national.

The handbook authored by Mumma's team gives quick guidance and reference material on key information for members who participate in party grassroots elections either as voters, delegates and aspirants to the various offices.

“This handbook outlines the fundamental aspects that members will find useful, including without limitation, who is eligible to vote, who is eligible to run for office, which offices are open for election and the mode of elections,” Mumma said.

ODM was scheduled to hold nationwide elections between March and April but was rescheduled given the strict Covid-19 guidelines that banned political gatherings.

NEB is yet to issue new dates.

Mumma told the Star last month that the board was drawing guidelines in readiness for the exercise.

The party was to spend Sh220 million in the exercise, according to a budget presented to the secretariat by NEB.

The elections were to begin from grassroots (polling station), sub branch (ward), branch (constituency), county to the national level.

At the polling station, 80 delegates would be divided into groups of 20 delegates to the four party structures.

The structures include; Mainstream Party Office, the ODM Women League Office, the ODM Youth League Office and the ODM Disability League Office.

The polling station office bearers then become the delegates for electing the sub-branch officials who become the delegates for electing the branch officials who in turn elect the county officials who then elect the national office.

-Edited by SKanyara