KISUMU, Kenya, Apr 7 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on Saturday said party leader Raila Odinga was not scheming to lock out his deputy Musalia Mudavadi from the party’s presidential nominations.
Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o instead spoke of a conspiracy by a section of the media to wreck the party before the next general elections.
“They are being used by some politicians who are against ODM to discredit the party,” he claimed at a hurriedly convened press conference in Kisumu.
“If the media wants to build a strong democratic political culture in the country then they must report facts and criticize fairly and honestly.”
He was responding to articles appearing in Saturdays dailies that claimed Mudavadi had been outfoxed by Odinga despite claims of a deal on his candidature following a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Wednesday.
The dailies said those behind Prime Minister Raila Odinga have no intention of keeping their end of the bargain.
“Mudavadi’s battle for a fair shot at his party’s presidential ticket may not be over, notwithstanding reports of a victory earlier this week,” said The Standard.
“Allies of ODM party leader have plotted to effectively lock out Mudavadi from the presidential nominations by registering the old constitution which with the Registrar of POolitical Parties on Tuesday,” reported the Weekend Star.
But Nyong’o said there was no difference whatsoever between the two leaders and the alleged ‘indifference was a creation of the media.’
“I challenge the media to obtain facts from relevant party officials instead of writing and broadcasting hearsays meant to create a conspiracy theory in the party,” he said.
“The media should stop being used to propagate selfish agendas.”
The NEC meeting agreed to repeal a controversial clause in the party’s constitution which guaranteed the party leader an automatic presidential ticket.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the NEC also agreed that forthcoming nominations for the party’s flag bearer will be conducted at the constituency level with 58 delegates per constituency.
This move gave Mudavadi an upper hand as he has been pushing for the repeal of the clause and also a grassroots nomination model as opposed to a national delegates’ conference.
Speaking after a five-hour meeting which was attended by both Odinga and Mudavadi who are the frontrunners for the party ticket, Nyong’o said the NEC will meet with the legal committee again next week to settle the matter.
‘These nominations and election rules affect many parts of the constitution, which we have spent a lot of time discussing in detail and so the legal committee has to go and look into the constitution very carefully so that no clause contradicts another clause,” he said.
The outcome of next week’s meeting will be transmitted to the ODM National Governing Council (NGC), and then to the National Delegates Congress (NDC) for adoption” he said.
Addressing party delegates in Kisumu on Thursday evening, Mudavadi warned that undemocratic nomination of candidates will cost ODM the best leaders, resulting in its defeat in the forthcoming general elections.
The Local Government minister urged ODM to urgently review its nomination rules to create certainty and allow aspirants to prepare in advance to avoid losing popular candidates ahead of the polls.