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Daily Nation : February 28th 2014
2 | National News DAILY NATION PARTY POLITICS Friday February 28, 2014 POLITICS | Opposition party will have new leadership irrespective of the outcome of today’s election but the biggest challenge Tough battle expected today as ODM Election board says no shortcuts will be entertained when delegates settle to pick 19 new leaders BY DAVE OPIYO @DaveOpiyo firstname.lastname@example.org starting today, after weeks of campaigns. Participants at the National O Delegates Conference, being held at Kasarani today and tomorrow, will vote by secret ballot on all positions, from party leader downwards. Executive director Magerer Lang’at said ballot papers, boxes and the delegates’ list were ready. “There will be no last minute short-cuts and we will stick to what has been agreed,” Mr Lang’at said. Ms Judy Pareno, the election board’s chairperson, denied that the party headquarters was involved in changing the delegates’ list. “We have met the branch chairpersons from all the 47 counties and they have verified the list that has been prepared by the secretariat. Nothing will be hidden,” she said. The term of the current na- tional officials of ODM ended last month. Two camps have emerged in the battle for positions. One has coalesced around range Democratic Movement elects 19 national officials Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho while the other is led by nominated Senator Agnes Zani. Mr Namwamba and Dr Zani want to be secretary general, one of the most powerful positions in the party. Yesterday, Mr Namwamba claimed his opponents did not have the capacity to ensure ODM wins the next election. And Mr Joho added: “We are men of action and will take care of your votes come 2017 so that we get out of the opposition.” Political analysts Macharia Munene and Joseph Magut said they believed the Joho/ Namwamba camp might win “as it appears very strong, vibrant and better organised”. The group has won various concessions from the party, including the commitment that voting will not be by acclamation as has happened in the past. Besides Mr Joho (he wants to be deputy party leader), other leaders eyeing various party positions in this group include Mr Josphat Nanok (chairman), Eldas MP Aden Keynan (vicechairman), Mr Namwamba (secretary general), Mrs Rose Buyu (organising secretary), Mr Simon Ogari (treasurer), Mr Suleiman Dori (deputy organising secretary) and nominated MP Zulekha Hassan (secretary, International Affairs). “Generally, the team has conducted spirited campaigns,” said Prof Munene. “The fact that they are being viewed as rebels who have challenged the status quo has really given Oparanya (deputy Party Leader), Timothy Bosire (treasurer) and George Aladwa (organising secretary), is the fact that they have had an “image problem” from the time they began their campaigns. “They do not exhibit the vibrancy and energy that has been shown by their opponents in their campaigns.,” said Prof Munene. “To many, they appear propped up.” He also said that at one time, the Zani team appeared to be ahead of their competitors at the Coast but this has waned in recent weeks. “But she still has a section NUMBERS Big day for popular party 19: Number of party posts to be filled. 47 : Number of party branches that will be sending delegates. 89: Number of candidates battling it out for various party positions. 2831: Number of candidates expected to vote during today’s election. them a major boost.” According to the analyst, the group has given delegates the impression that it has a popular following and this might work to its advantage. The scholar also said the group had an edge at the Coast, especially after Mr Namwamba got the backing of leaders and delegates from the region, including Mr Joho, who declined to support Dr Zani, who is from Kwale. Prof Munene said Mr Namwamba was likely to bag the Western vote because he hails from that region, while Nairobi will be “a give and take affair”. “It is pretty difficult to state who Nairobi will vote for but for me, team Namwamba appears to be having an upper of Nyanza,” he said. “They need to take advantage of the notion that has been created that they are being backed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who still has a huge say in the region.” Mr Odinga — who is seek- KEVIN ODIT | NATION ODM leaders Ababu Namwamba (centre), Hassan Joho and Josphat Nanok campaign at Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa ahead of today’s ODM elections. Mr Namwamba promised to ensure that the party wins the presidential election in 2017. hand,” he said. According to Dr Magut, the Joho-Namwamba team will also most likely carry the day in North Eastern, Nairobi and Rift Valley. “Unless something dramatic happens, the die is already cast for Mr Namwamba, who has come out as a capable candidate for the position,” Dr Magut said. Prof Munene said the main undoing of Dr Zani’s team, which also includes Funyula MP Paul Otuoma (chairman), Kakamega Governor Wycliffe ing to retain his post as party leader — has on several occasions said that he had no preferred candidates. Dr Magut said Dr Zani’s biggest undoing was the fact that she was not well known nationally, and that she only came into the limelight after her apparent endorsement by Mr Odinga. “The fact that Mr Odinga has stated repeatedly that he is not backing anyone has now left her struggling” he said. “She does not ooze the personality that Mr Namwamba has…she needs to cut her political teeth first.” Additional reporting by Bernard Namunane and Isaac Ongiri Faction draws up own expanded list of posts BY NATION REPORTER One of the teams eyeing top seats in ODM yesterday said they had come up with an expanded list of party positions that would help deliver victory in 2017. The team fronting Dr Agnes Zani for the powerful secretary general post said former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was the man to lead the party into the 2017 election and introduced a parallel line-up for the ODM elections for national officials that will battle it out with the other camp led by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba. Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is eyeing the deputy party leader post in the elections that start today, yesterday announced his team’s agenda, which included unreserved support for Mr Odinga as the sole candidate in 2017 and expanding party positions to attain regional and gender balance. “We have a team with struc- tures up to the village level to ensure the party is ready to win in 2017,” he said. Mr Oparanya said the team supported the decision of the National Governing Council that ratified expansion of the number of national executive council positions to give the team a national outlook and attain gender balance. Previously, more positions had been created in a bid to end rivalry between the two camps and unite the party, but it failed to bring the Dr Zani and Mr Namwamba camps together. Like their rival line-up, that also fronts Mr Odinga to lead the party, and led by Mr Namwamba, who is seeking to succeed Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o as secretary general, the team claimed to have traversed the country seeking support of delegates to carry the day at the Kasarani sports gymnasium. The rival team of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, who is vying for deputy party leader, Mr Namwamba, and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, has also been traversing the country.
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