BY PHILIP ETALE
As the world changes with time, so is everyone, institution and organisation. Nothing prospers without change, a country included. There must be change in leadership for growth in democracy.
That\’s why the country today, after two decades of hide and seek between the government and activists, unending running battles between the police and pro-change activists and bloodletting incidents, has a new Constitution – not because everyone wanted it but because majority of Kenyans did.
Mark Twain once said: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn\’t do than by the things you did." You can never keep on postponing events; do them now for the benefit of those to come.
The passing of the proposed Constitution and subsequent promulgation by President Mwai Kibaki in August marked an end to authoritarian rule and impunity among other vices that plagued Kenya.
When the Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya (ODM) was started just after the 2005 referendum that saw the opposition trounce the government-supported proposed constitution, its main agenda was to ensure a good living for Kenyans, democratic leadership, end to corruption and impunity among others.
Although ODM\’s grand march to State House was cut short following the botched 2007 Presidential Election, the party has and continues to flourish day by day. Why am I saying this? The Party remains the most active both inside Parliament and outside, it has the most active and running Secretariat where meetings are held and cards played on the table and not below the table.
Friday November 26, 2010 marked the beginning of a new chapter for the ODM. It is the day, delegates to the National Governing Council conference at the Bomas of Kenya, argued, differed and made suggestions, all aimed at strengthening the party ahead of the 2012 General Election. They eventually, after close to five hours of vigorous deliberations, passed the proposed amendments to the party\’s constitution.
The delegates to the Bomas Conference had one thing in mind that; ODM is and must always be ahead of the rest of the political parties in Kenya. Indeed, the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. The delegates were wiser and guided by the spirit of "Chungwa Moja, Maisha Bora", they ensured that the party became the first ever in Kenya to amend its constitution and conform it to the country\’s new constitution. They simply put together all their ideas to become one, which is a good spirit of democracy.
In the amended Constitution, ODM is going to be the party for the youth. The youth are going to have more say in the running of the party, decisions making and will be actively involved in matters that affect the party. The Country\’s new constitution is much friendlier to the youth and women that the past constitution, and so is ODM\’s Constitution.
The Party Leader Raila Odinga was more emphatic during the conference that time has come for the youth to be empowered, be listened to and also have a way in decisions that are made. ODM is committed to this.
A strong political party is that which can be felt, seen at its physical location and holds regular activities. One cannot claim to be leading a political party which he/she walks with in the briefcase. A political party of repute does things in the open and in consultation with the stakeholders who are the party members. The members are the owners of a party not individuals.
I must say here that, while we are in this epoch of transparency and accountability, ODM is the only party that promises a brighter future for Kenya and Kenyans at large.
The party\’s rules of nomination have been changed as a result of the amended constitution and no one will be issued with a certificate to vie for Presidency, Parliamentary, Senate or Governorship positions without undergoing vetting and screening. It is a provision in the country\’s Constitution and ODM is going to exercise this in the February by-elections for the Kirinyaga Central Parliamentary seat and the 10 vacant civic seats countrywide.
Political parties must know that "it is not what happens to you but what you do about it that makes the difference".
ODM has been through a lot since the faulty 2007 Presidential Election, criticism from all corners and underground manoeuvres to discredit its leadership, but it has proved to its critics that, all said and done, ODM is still the leader.
As if to prove the popularity of ODM, media houses always refer to the party politicians and Members of Parliament as ODM\’s whenever they do anything, be it be good or bad. But when some politicians or Members of Parliament are involved in scandals, they are only referred by their names or through descriptions of their lifestyles.
Some people think that is killing the party\’s image, it is indeed making it more and more popular. The popularity of an individual is not measured by what he or she does but by what people say about them.
The days of wapende wasipende are long dead with the KANU regime; Kenyans are now focused to a better future, working towards achieving the Vision 2030 dream that is just thirty years away from us, making Kenya a better place for all, our children and our children\’s
The ODM antagonists, haters and adversaries should know that, he who talks more is sooner exhausted. ODM will listen to all that is said against it with a deaf ear and like Jesus Christ said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" it will have the last laugh, Inshallah.
(The writer is the Director of Communications of ODM)