NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga maintained on Thursday that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) neither planned nor anticipated the violence and bloodletting that followed last year’s disputed elections.,
He said ODM supporters were the aggrieved party in the post-election fiasco and only engaged in defensive violence after their political adversaries embarked on oppressive means “to suppress their protest over a stolen election.”
“Our members were only demanding justice after our victory was snatched from us by referees who failed in the duty to oversee a free and fair election. But their quest was met by vicious attacks which forced the party to settle for a truce,” he asserted.
Mr Odinga was addressing the party’s National Delegates Conference at the Bomas of Kenya.
“I wish to state one more time that we in ODM never planned the violence or bloodshed, we never planned anything because we were expecting victory and organised victory party celebrations,” he insisted.
He said the party “believes in compromise, consultation and coalition building for the sake of the nation and urged party leaders to embrace politics of nationalism and shun playing the tribal card for the unity of the party.”
The PM reiterated the party’s commitment to push for the enactment of a new constitutional order in the country to facilitate change.
“Our quest for change is anchored on a quest for a new constitution that will see fair and equitable distribution of resources. We stood on a platform of change and promised to change all things that made other people feel lesser Kenyans and less proud of being Kenyan,” he stressed.
He also commended the party’s rank and file including the Pentagon members for their efforts during the last general election that saw the party triumph in most parts of the country and pledged his commitment to guard the unity of the party.
“I can proudly stand before you delegates and report that the team you gave me to lead is still intact and I promise it will remain intact.”
The premier also revisited the controversial Communication of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2008 which he insists was published before the inception of the coalition government and pledged to mobilise members of the 10th parliament to further deliberate and iron out the contentious issues.
He declared that ODM stood for the freedom of the press which he said, was the recipe for a mature democratic society and urged leaders to soften their “dictatorial “stance and review the contentious clauses in the Bill.
Thursday’s NDC endorsed Mr Odinga as the Party Leader, to be deputized by Musalia Mudavadi and William Ruto.
Those who retained their posts included Chairman Henry Kosgey, Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o and Treasurer Omingo Magara. Kisauni MP Ali Hassan Joho was appointed the Organising Secretary.
The four slots of Deputy Chairman went to Ramadhan Seif Kajembe, Aden Duale, Joe Nyagah, and Alfred Sambu while Mohamed Ali, Thomas Mwandechu and Joseph Nkaissery secured the Deputy Secretary General’s slots.
Former Makadara MP Rueben Ndolo, Mohamed Hussein Dado and Benjamin Langat bagged the Deputy Organising Secretary’s position while Mary Ruto and Dalmas Otieno took the Deputy Treasurer’s slots.
The Conference was however disrupted for half an hour after it became apparent that there were no women candidates in any of the posts being contested.
ODM women delegates jeered and heckled the men demanding that some posts be allocated to them.
But Mr Ruto said the issue arose after branches failed to nominate women for the party positions.