Wanjigi dares Raila to face him in ODM primaries

We won’t allow ODM boardroom nominations, Jimi Wanjigi tells Raila Odinga

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi has alleged a plot by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to conduct secret presidential nominations ahead of 2022.

He told ODM leader Raila Odinga to let the people decide who will be the party’s presidential flag-bearer in the 2022 polls.

“We shall not allow boardroom party primaries,” he said.

He continued: “What will be the need of having a party if nominations will not be conducted fairly.”

The presidential hopeful said that ODM old guards should hang up their boots to pave the way for a new crop of leaders.

He stressed that ODM may move away from democratic ideals should Mr Odinga dictate who should be in the State House race on his party  ticket.

“I’m an ODM life member, I am fully aware of the methods the party may use to pick its presidential flag-bearer. I would like to remind (Mr) Odinga that the ODM constitution lays it out very well in Article 6 that all national officials other than the secretary for parliamentary affairs, secretary for women affairs, secretary for youth affairs and the executive director shall be elected by the national delegates conference,” he said at St Peters Siakago Anglican Cathedral during a fundraiser in aid of Mbeere Diocese in Embu County on Saturday.

National officials

The constitution also provides that all national officials shall hold office for a term of five years.

The same Article 6 provides that where an office is contested by more than one candidate, the vote shall be decided by a simple majority.

“By his own admission, the office of the ODM secretary-general has received two applications from party members wishing to contest for the presidential ticket. I have also expressed my interest to formally present my application as soon as the NEC opens the next window.

My demands are simply that the spirit and the letter of the democratic tenets secured in the party constitution be followed. I don’t understand what the SG finds difficult with that,” he added.

 He said the party leader, one of Kenya’s foremost democrats, should ensure that the party nominations are free and fair.

I challenged Mr Odinga to tell party members why he has not announced ODM primaries at the branch levels in one daily newspaper of national circulation and one digital outlet as required by Rule 7 of the ODM nomination rules.

“Mr Odinga is yet to respond to members’ concerns,” he stated, pointing out that he chose to become an ODM life member conscientiously.

Mr Wanjigi believes that ODM has the best internal structures for a democratic run and that it needs to be re-invigorated and popularised across the nation to win the 2022 elections and form the next government.

“I will not relent from my demand for a democratic people-driven process within the party so that we can face competitors as one solid force capable of forming the next government.

I will continue to popularise the party across the country and to deepen our recruitment activities with this goal in mind,” he said.

He observed that ODM conducted successful primaries in 2007 where party leader Raila Odinga emerged the winner. No other party had such a democratic contest and strong foundation. He said the same should happen this time.

Democratic credentials

“I espouse the ideals of ODM and its democratic credentials which is why I signed up as a party life member.

It is my considered view that we need to sustain and build on these democratic credentials so that ODM sustains its contribution of governance ideals long after we the current members have exited the stage,” he said.

He explained that one of the goals of offering his candidature for the ODM ticket was to support the party in enhancing internal democracy in a more transparent, accountable, and people-driven process.

“The ultimate character of true democracy is to let people choose their leaders,” he said.

Mr Wanjigi said time was ripe for old leaders to leave political office for young, competent and energetic ones to resuscitate the country’s economy.

“We need someone like me who can lead an economic revolution. Kenyans are wallowing in poverty and they need a leader who can help them put money in their pockets. There is no third liberation without empowering the people financially,” he said.

Bishop Moses Mashamba said the church supports economic recovery.

“Kenyans are suffering and they are crying for help,” he said.

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