, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Fresh challenges have rocked the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) after Mathare Constituency aspirant Anthony Oluoch demanded the party conducts nominations to pick its flag bearer in the upcoming parliamentary by-election.
Oluoch who is the party’s Secretary for Legal Affairs led his supporters to Orange House to protest reports that senior party leaders were pushing for Steven Kariuki to get direct nomination.
“My supporters and I have been alarmed by information being peddled by one of the candidates that he will be given a direct nomination by the party with blessings from our party leader, Raila Amollo Odinga. This is disturbing information that has been given credence by some senior members of the transitional team who appeared on television at some church and confirmed the party intends to give a direct nomination.”
“It is my view that the party seeks the views of the constituents of Mathare before making that decision,” he said.
A section ODM politicians led by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba on Sunday urged the party to give direct nomination to Steven Kariuki, arguing that he is the one who won the electoral petition that saw the nullification of TNA’s George Wanjohi’s victory of March 2013.
“It has been a custom that if a member takes a petition to court, battles it out and wins, it is only fair to give the person direct nomination. Kariuki is no different,” said Namwamba when he led the ‘Fresh Team’ to Bishop Margaret Wanjiru’s Jesus is Alive Ministry Sanctuary where they showed support for Kariuki.
Kariuki, better known as ‘K1’ is the son to the former Starehe MP and Housing Assistant Minister, who has maintained a low profile after losing the Nairobi Senatorial seat to TNA’s Mike Sonko.
Oluoch has denied claims that he had defected to Ford-Kenya after losing in the 2013 ODM Primaries.
Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula’s Ford-Kenya and the Wiper Democratic Movement of former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka have declared that they will not field candidates for the seat and will leave it to CORD coalition partner, ODM.
Oluoch said Namwamba was against his campaign pledge of changing the handling of party nominations and is now perpetuating boardroom deals to institute leaders on the electorate.
“The Ababu Namwamba team singled out the handling of the nominations as being largely responsible for why our party leader, has lost elections on three occasions,” he continued. “He and his team promised to come to office and fix this; therefore he cannot preach water and drink wine.”
Oluoch claimed that the party leadership was ignoring his letters seeking clarification on the party position.
“I wrote to the interim team on Wednesday last week seeking clarification on whether the party organs have met to deliberate on this issue but have not gotten an answer,” he pointed out.
ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat through the party Deputy Communications Officer Maseme Machuka told Capital FM News that the party leadership would meet to discuss mode of choosing its candidate once the seat is declared vacant by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Speaker of the National Assembly.