Kenya:ODM legislators say Raila must be Cord flagbearer

Published by Daily Nation
On 30 August 2016 saa 01:58
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As Mudavadi’s ANC deny they are in talks with Mr Odinga to form a coalition.

Orange leaders have vowed to ensure party leader Raila Odinga wins the Cord presidential ticket in next year’s General Election.

This comes as the Amani National Congress (ANC) said its leader Musalia Mudavadi is not engaged in any coalition talks with Mr Odinga.

ANC secretary-general Godfrey Osotsi said Mr Mudavadi’s priority was to strengthen the party before starting any talks with like-minded outfits.

ODM national vice chairman Josephat Nanok and seven MPs argued that Mr Odinga stood a better chance of winning the Cord ticket against Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and any other candidate interested in the coalition.

“Raila will be the candidate and ODM will win. Party politics is about taking power democratically in elections,” Mr Nanok told Nation by phone.

Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire and ODM treasurer Florence Mutua (Busia woman rep), Chris Omulele (Luanda), Edick Anyanga (Nyatike), Sylvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul), Rose Nyamunga (Kisumu woman rep) and Opondo Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) said Mr Odinga is the best bet for Cord.

“Raila has been tried, tested and is trusted. He has a wider constituency across the country and nothing will stop him from clinching the Cord ticket,” Mr Bosire said.

Mr Odinga is battling it out with Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula for the Cord ticket and he has indicated in the past he is ready to sacrifice his presidential ambition to beat Jubilee.

Last Friday, Luo Council of Elders endorsed him, saying his 2017 candidature is not negotiable. Council chairman Willis Otondi said they resolved to have Mr Odinga’s name on the ballot.

Secretary Owino Nyady said, “We own Raila. Raila does not own us. Therefore our resolution is final. Raila must run for President in 2017 and this matter is not negotiable.”

On Monday, Mr Omulele said Mr Odinga has both local and international networks and a large financial muscle that no other candidate can match.

“Our candidate is Agwambo (Mr Odinga) and we are not compromising on that. He cannot be going round the country campaigning only to support somebody else for the Cord ticket,” he said.

“He is therefore up to the task. Nothing comes on a silver platter. He will fly our flag in 2017. We follow him not just as Mr Odinga but because of what he believes in,” the Luanda MP said.

Mr Anyanga said Mr Odinga’s record speaks for itself.

“The flagbearer is a matter of getting a person with numbers hence possibility of winning. If anybody feels he is popular and can win he or she should join Mr Odinga so they win as a team,” the Nyatike MP said.

He said it is not possible that Mr Odinga will support another candidate.


“Then why has he been criss-crossing the country in hunt for votes?” asked Mr Anyanga.

Mr Osele said Mr Odinga will not endorse another candidate as witnessed in 2002 when he supported retired President Mwai Kibaki.

“The political dynamics are currently different. During “Kibaki Tosha” time, the idea of coalition was still new and Mr Odinga’s stature was still rising but today the coalition principles are properly entrenched and Raila’s political stature has risen in Coast, Western, Eastern, North Eastern and Nairobi in addition to Nyanza,” he said.

(READ: Raila endorsement by elders bad for Cord - Mutula Jnr)

The stand by the ODM leaders is likely to rub the wrong way their Wiper and Ford Kenya allies who have been lobbying for their leaders to get the Cord ticket. There has also been talk of Mr Odinga disbanding Cord and forming a wider alliance which includes Mr Mudavadi.

But on Monday, ANC’s secretary general Geoffrey Osotsi said it was premature to speak of formal talks between Mr Mudavadi and Mr Odinga.

“The strengthening of ANC party across the country is our main priority as we prepare for the 2017 elections. While doing so, we appreciate the strategic importance of partnerships and coalition building with like-minded political organisations including Cord or its affiliate parties.

Mr Osotsi explained that structured talks on future coalitions which Mr Mudavadi could join will be based on the provisions in the ANC constitution and will not be made by the roadside.

“The structured process of coalition building is clearly specified in our party constitution and at the opportune time that process will be invoked within the framework of our party constitution and the relevant legislation,” he said.

Mr Osotsi was reacting to a report quoting MPs Junet Mohamed (ODM) and Ayub Savula (UDF) that Mr Mudavadi’s ANC was one of the parties which were in talks with Mr Odinga to form a super alliance that will garner adequate numbers to defeat the Jubilee Coalition in the 2017 elections.

He argued the fact that ANC has a commonality with the Cord coalition on policy issues should not be used to claim that Mr Mudavadi was in talks to join the opposition coalition.

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Cord leader Raila Odinga (behind microphones) flanked by Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok (second left) and other ODM lawmakers in Kalokol, Turkana Central, on August 28, 2016 when they campaigned for an ODM candidate for ward representative in a by-election scheduled for October.