African Union envoy, Raila Odinga, is set to make major changes within his party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), in an overhaul that will see the party rebrand, The Star reported on Thursday, September 12.
Privy sources within the party indicated that senior top officials, including long-serving directors, Oduor Ongwen (executive director) Joshua Kwino (finance and administration), Philip Etale (political affairs and strategy) and Rosemary Kariuki (director of membership, recruitment and retention) were allegedly facing the sack.
Despite Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday, August 18, indicating that Raila was probably going to face off with him in 2022 presidential elections, Raila has played coy with the issue. However, the overhaul has been reported to be a low key strategy towards 2022 elections.
The Star further highlights that a new organ within ODM dubbed Secretariat Management Committee (SMC) will be in charge of the overhaul scheduled for October 2019.
The secretariat allegedly landed in trouble after an internal audit done by a one Catherine Mumma-led team indicted it for failing in their mandate and accused them of the financial woes at ODM.
The team further reported that the secretariat was out of touch with the grassroots membership.
"ODM party primaries have been described as the party's biggest vice. Party elections are thought to lack credibility and do not meet the standard of being free, fair and democratic," the report read.
The Daily Nation on September 1, 2019, stated that the audit had been adopted by ODM's NEC and National Council of Governors. It also added that the audit found that there had occurred fragrant disobedience of party constitution and that it had dwindled its fanatical following across the country, including in its strongholds.
“The implementation of the recommendations of the audit team shall be progressive,” ODM's Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna then stated as reported by the Daily Nation.
"We cannot afford to let our party go down the drain as we watch. Things must change and do so for the better of the party, its members, supporters and the country.
“We are the only party with clear structures and policies. And as always, we are ready for restructuring for any competition. The most visible party in terms of structures in Kenya is ODM," ODM Chairman John Mbadi added.
On August 29, 2019, Wafula Buke ( political affairs strategist) was fired under controversial circumstances. He stated that he had brushed shoulders with the senior officials within the party.
Further cracks within the party surfaced with reports implicating Ongwen for insubordination of Raila. It was alleged that he declined to obey Raila's directive over the treatment of ailing National Super Alliance CEO, Norman Magaya. Magaya, however, thwarted the reports and reiterated ODM's total support.
Etale was then implicated in a claim that he received Ksh2 million bribe from Ken Okoth's brother Bernar 'Imran' Okoth to hand him the party nomination. He laughed off the allegations.
Etale while speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, however, denied that ODM was hatching a plot to fire senior officials.
"I want to believe that the reports are based on rumours," he opined.
ODM is meanwhile planning to relocate into their new Ksh170 million headquarters in Lavington Nairobi.
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