, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Cabinet minister Charity Ngilu on Saturday threw her weight behind Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential bid.
Adressing Kitui county Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) delegates, the Kitui Central MP urged the gathering to vote for Mudavadi to clinch the ODM presidential ticket.
“This is a refreshing moment for the party to see it talked about throughout the country,” said Ngilu who had earlier hosted Mudavadi to breakfast at her home. “I encourage ODM to go ahead with its democratic presidential nomination process and allow the delegates to decide on the presidential candidate, I assure you of my full support.”
Mudavadi’s presidential bid was also endorsed by 360 Kitui County delegates.
The delegates’ said Mudavadi was the party’s best hope to State House in the forthcoming general elections.
“That’s why we have nicknamed you ‘Makau’ as we are sure you will outrun other competitors just like the world marathon record holder,” said a delegate.
Mudavadi was accompanied by Assistant Ministers George Khaniri; Manyala Keya and MPs Justus Kizito and David Akula.
The delegates also demanded that ODM should conduct its presidential nomination at the county level to avoid coercion and manipulation.
“We support the proposal to do the nomination at the County level because we feel that will broaden participation, eliminate malpractices so that the outcome is acceptable to all”, said ODM Kitui county Secretary-general Christine Beth.
Mudavadi, who has launched a fierce campaign for the ODM presidential ticket, wants the primaries to be done at the county level as per the party’s push for devolution while Prime Minister Raila Odinga supports delegates being transported to Nairobi for a national congress.
The Deputy Premier, who is also the ODM deputy party leader said the decision to pick the party flag-bearer is the mandate of delegates and not ad hoc committees.
Mudavadi pledged to respect the decision of ODM delegates at the ballot.
On the need for county voting he said the current ODM constitution was designed under the old constitution and should be reviewed to align it to the new constitution, the Elections Act and the Political Parties Act.
“As a party of change, we should not take refuge in old habits but we should embrace change fully,” he said
He added the new constitution has guaranteed citizen participation in every decision making that affect their lives in one way or another and ODM party must allow democracy to grow.
“The new constitution has guaranteed participation in decision-making and in ODM the citizens are the elected delegates who must be given the opportunity to pick the party’s presidential nominee,” Mudavadi said.
Mudavadi is scheduled to meet 540 ODM delegates in Kiambu County on Monday.