NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is now reaching out to its deputy leader Musalia Mudavadi by assuring him that he will be allowed to run against party leader Raila Odinga in the presidential primaries.
Odinga’s Presidential Secretariat Communications Director Barrack Muluka said on Friday that the PM was not interested in blocking Mudavadi from running for the country’s top seat.
“Quite to the contrary, the Prime Minister is a democrat who recognises everyone’s right to exercise and enjoy his or her democratic rights and freedoms as laid out by the law. To this end, Mudavadi is quite in order to seek to be the ODM presidential flag bearer,” he indicated in the statement.
Odinga said he was eager to have the party constitution to be amended to allow Mudavadi to pursue his presidential bid. However, the party had to make its application with the registrar of political parties as it did on Tuesday to ensure it stayed on the right side of the law.
“Article 20 of the Political Parties Act requires that notice be given to the Registrar of Political Parties for intent to amend the Constitution. ODM has done this, taking note too that to wait for amendment of the Constitution before presenting the registration of the documents to the Registrar of Political Parties would lead to its deregistration, owing to both constitutional processes and timelines within the party and those within the Parties’ Act,” explained Muluka.
“The amendment process will then proceed, as laid out in party instruments. Surely, those who initiated the amendment process that is now on going are not strangers to these legal requirements?” he queried.
Muluka also hit out at Mudavadi and his supporters, for what he is terming as threats and intimidation in pushing the constitution amendment.
”We restate that amendment of a party’s Constitution needs to be done in a sober, free and democratic manner. It should not be done under threats and intimidation. Intimidating people is itself of course the highest manifestation of dictatorship. Let Kenyans judge for themselves who is being high handed and dictatorial in this matter. It should not be done with a gun placed against people’s heads as is being done,” Muluka said.
Odinga is blaming the standoff between him and his deputy on external forces.
“These forces remain adamantly at work. We know about their recent activities and meetings in Nairobi and elsewhere. We would caution members of ODM not to fall victim to short-term attraction from these forces. ODM remains the only democratic political party in Kenya. It is the only party whose Presidential ticket is being contested for democratically.”
In another statement, ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o issued similar sentiments saying those making allegations that Mudavadi will be locked out of the presidential race if he stays in the party want to destroy ODM.
“All efforts by those hell bent on destroying the party will be thwarted and their perpetrators rejected. As ODM we know who our real enemies are; and they are outside the party. This is why they would want to read into the law things which are insupportable in law,” he stated.
Mudavadi on Wednesday hinted that he was considering quitting ODM after the party filed its registration papers with the government without amending the controversial clause that gives Raila a head start in his quest to succeed President Mwai Kibaki.
One of the major reasons for the fall out with the Prime Minister has been Mudavadi’s push for the repeal of the clause that gives Odinga automatic nomination and wanted it amended before ODM handed over its documents to the registrar of political parties.