ODM grassroots polls in a fortnight

November 24, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 24 – The Orange Democratic Movement will hold grassroots elections between December 6 and 8 in a bid to comply with the Political Parties Act.

The Chairman of Election’s Board Phillip Okundi who made the announcement on Monday said that supporters would decide the mode of choosing the officials.

“Our constitution allows using secret ballot, acclamation, ‘mlolongo’ (queuing) or even consensus. Whichever rule people who are members agree on is what the returning officers will record and in that way it is democratic enough,” Mr Okundi said.

He however failed to confirm if and when national officials would be elected. The party is expected to hold its National Delegates Conference on December 18 where it is expected the issue would be resolved.

Mr Okundi met 210 returning officers – each for every constituency – and said that officials for sub location, location and constituency levels would be elected at the polls.

“We were having a session to brief them on the procedures to be followed and how they will collect the people and account for those to be elected,” he added.

Various political parties are in a rush to conform to the new law whose deadline is due in a month’s time. Enacted in July, the Act seeks to streamline operations of the parties including funding. Narc Kenya has already elected its officials and endorsed its constitution.

President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) has on its part announced its elections for the top posts and which are expected to take place during the National Delegates Conference on December 19.

The former ruling party KANU is due to hold its delegates conference this Thursday and is expected to fill vacant leadership positions.

The Political Parties Act whose conformity deadline is December 31 requires that the executive leadership of each party reflect a national representation besides having offices in every constituency.

Since entering into a coalition agreement with the PNU early in the year, ODM has weathered internal rebellion, with a bloc from the South Rift posing the greatest challenge. The implementation of the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence commonly referred to Waki report, has divided the party right in the middle. While Prime Minister Raila Odinga is pushing for its full implementation, Agriculture Minister William Ruto has been opposing it.

Mr Odinga who is also the Party Leader hosted ODM Members of Parliament at the Coast over the weekend to mend evident rifts within the party. Mr Ruto backtracked from his stand over the weekend and registered his support for the full implementation of the report.


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