Kenya: Raila Warns of ODM Disintegration Amid Factional Battles

Nairobi — Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party Leader Raila Odinga on Sunday warned of a possible disintegration of the 19-year-old political outfit following vicious factional battles due to succession politics.

Speaking while addressing a public gathering in Malindi, Raila expressed concern about factions forming within the party and warned that the ambitions of individual members could eventually bring down the party.

Former Governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), who are the ODM Deputy Party Leaders, are seeking to put in place their allies in ODM leadership positions during the grassroots elections as they boost their chances of leading the political outfit.

Succession wars in the opposition outfit have been linked to the imminent postponement of the grassroots elections following Odinga’s interest in pursuing the African Union Commission Chairperson post.

The former Prime Minister’s call for sobriety comes as he is expected to chair the ODM Party Central Committee meeting on April 2, 2024,

In March, ODM Chairman John Mbadi (Nominated MP) hinted at yet another postponement of the often high-voltage grassroots poll citing that the Party’s Elections Coordinating Committee has not been formed.

“There could be some challenges with us holding the grassroots elections in April because our elections committee is not in place but that’s the party’s decision next week,” he told reporters in Parliament.

The party’s attempt to hold grassroots elections in February 2014 after its National Delegates Conference was disrupted at the Kasarani gymnasium.

Intense jostling for the top seat in the ODM Party has emerged with utterances of those eyeing Odinga’s post threatening to disunite the party.

The vicious succession struggle is said to have spilled to the grassroots elections which are likely to be postponed.

“Those who want the party to remain strong should exercise caution and moderation. A few processes will have to kick in before the party can declare the election date,” said Mbadi.

The first meeting of the Central Committee held early this year, resolved to disband the ODM National Elections Board (NEB) in efforts to devolve management of its elections to the grassroots.

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said all party elections shall be managed at the county level with two elections coordinators; one male and one female in charge of each county.

Odinga has been spearheading mass membership recruitment countrywide ahead of anticipated national party elections slated for April.

ODM is seeking to redeem and strengthen its base as it restrategizes ahead of the 2027 General Elections with the recruitment drive aimed at allowing Kenyans from across the country.

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Laban Wanambisi, is a journalist, who specializes in reporting Parliamentary and Political Affairs. He likes telling stories in a way that makes a difference in people’s lives and the world.

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