, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The forthcoming Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party elections continue dominating talks among its members with three MPs now calling for a leadership that will have more women and youths.
Kibra MP Ken Okoth, Karachuonyo’s James Rege and Ndhiwa’s Aghostinho Neto said on Saturday that it was necessary for the ODM to overhaul its leadership if it was to secure a presidential win in 2017.
The legislators argued that the party must have high calibre women and dedicated youths within its top ranks in addition to having a healthy blend of both old and young leaders.
Okoth, who will be vying for the ODM secretary of international affairs position, said that the old would be able to pump in their experience for the good of the party while the youths would bring in fresh ideas which are also good for the vibrancy of the party.
“You cannot simply have a tyranny of youths or a tyranny of old people running the party. I want to see a blend of old guard experienced leaders and new young people. Allow us to sit at the table, produce and add something of value,” he said.
Rege on his part said that the party leadership should be representative of the face of Kenya adding that the seats should be shared among various regions.
He said that he was in full support of the party leader Raila Odinga’s position not to keep any particular seat for a specific region.
“In the past two years elections have been wishy-washy but now anybody who is qualified should come up and tell the members that he or she is qualified to be the Secretary General, deputy Chair and so on,” he explained.
Neto however felt that it did not matter which region grabbed the top seats as long as the individuals chosen were competent enough.
He argued that other parties had the top crop of leadership coming from the same region adding that it was necessary for leaders to be able to work together.
“Look at the Wiper Party; the party leader is from Ukambani and so is the Secretary General. That does not raise any eyebrows. Look at Ford Kenya; the party leader is from Western Kenya and so is the Secretary General. That does not raise any eye brows,” pointed out Neto.
“But when it comes to Luo-Nyanza when the party leader and Secretary General want to come from the same part it becomes national politics. Let’s be fair.”
This comes at a time when the party has been dealing with internal wrangles with youthful Luo-Nyanza MPs insisting that the region must retain the Secretary General position.
The MPs are also demanding that the Vice Chairman position be kept aside for members from the region.
Odinga has however distanced himself from these demands and has also refused to endorse any of the contestants. This has clearly rubbed some members the wrong way.
The National Delegates Convention has been slated for February 28 and March 1, which is when the members will pick their national leaders.