, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Mathare Constituency aspirant Antony Oluoch insists he is still in the race to be the party’s flag bearer in the upcoming by-election despite a section of the party leadership announcing their preference for Stephen Kariuki.
Oluoch told Capital FM News on Monday that the party supporters must be allowed to pick the most suitable candidate who will guarantee victory in the poll that came about after the Court of Appeal nullified George Wanjohi’s (TNA) March 2013 victory.
He dismissed the pronouncement made by the party’s Nairobi MPs and Executive Director Magerer Langat arguing it was not approved by the party’s top decision making organs.
“ODM has not formally issued a certificate, so the pronouncement that was made that a decision had been reached at the very best would amount to an intention by the party or a decision that would be subject to the ratification by the Party Leader (who is away in the US for a month) and other organs of the ODM,” he said during interview with Capital FM News at his office.
Party members led by, Ababu Namwamba and Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero have assured Kariuki of a direct nomination from the party as well as their unwavering support.
Kidero was picked chairman of a 12 member campaign steering committee which was set up last week.
Kariuki, who is a son to Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, was handed the certificate after the General Election but it was recalled 48 hours later by the returning officer and handed to his main challenger, Wanjohi.
Kariuki then lodged a petition at the High Court but the election of Wanjohi was upheld, a decision he appealed.
Now, Oluoch has declared he will not leave the party should it hand Kariuki direct nomination.
“I have said this before and I will say this with no revocation, Antony Oluoch is a member of ODM to stay. So I will make my point, if the party sticks by its decision; so be it,” Oluoch emphasised. “Antony Oluoch is not moving to another party, I am a life member of ODM.”
The ODM Legal Affairs Secretary disagreed with Namwamba’s assessment that it will be unjust to hold party nominations to pick the flag bearer for Mathare Constituency.
“A little bit of respect ought to be accorded to the wishes of the people (of Mathare) so that there is a balance between what is being called a tradition of the party,” Oluoch continued.
“We are asking that in spite of that pronouncement, if the ink has not dried or actually been appended on that nomination certificate, we are asking ODM to reconsider it.”
IEBC confirmed receiving the certificate nullifying the election of Wanjohi as the Mathare MP on March 26.
The IEBC is now awaiting National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to declare the seat vacant, so that the election will be conducted within 90 days as required by the law.