Plot to Register New Political Parties With The ODM Acronym To Rival ODM

The Weekly Vision Team

Even before ODM party leader Raila Odinga takes over his new role as the chairman of the African Union Commission, political players who have been fighting him over his ‘dictatorial’ tendencies, especially during election periods, are now plotting on how to benefit from his absence from the political arena. 

It is a well-known fact that a majority of elected leaders from Luo Nyanza hold their respective positions courtesy of Raila Odinga’s influence. During party nominations, politicians are known to hang on to their coats as a way of winning favours and winning elections. The Weekly Vision has learned how a certain clique of politicians who are opposed to Mr Odinga’s dominance of political affairs in the four counties of Luo Nyanza are now hatching a plot to form a political party with the same acronym as the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and have it registered ahead of the 2027 elections.

Investigations reveal that already the Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu, has received applications to reserve the names ODM Mpya, ODM Asili, and ODM Kamili. Should the registrar approve the registration of any of the parties, then it will offer alternative party membership to the original ODM. They said the application for the reservation of names not only violated Section 8 of the Political Parties Act but also had a “sinister motive geared at causing confusion within our membership and the public in general on the proper functioning of our party.” They blame the applicant, Thomas Ondijo Owiti, for being used by outside forces to register political parties in the name of ODM merely to cause confusion during general elections.

The move is pegged on the assumption that Mr. Odinga wins the AUC chairmanship; and since the position will be a full-time role, he will be forced out of local political activities to concentrate on his new role in Addis Ababa, the AU headquarters. What that means, therefore, is that party nominations in Luo Nyanza shall be without any interference from him or his close allies, with cases of direct nomination to people perceived to be close to him becoming a thing of the past.

Further, there will be no ODM wave in the region, and voters will be free to nominate candidates of their choice without intimidation or coercion. Under such circumstances, more political parties will have room to field candidates. 

ODM has learned of the move and countered it by warning the registrar against approving the registration of any of those names. In a letter to Nderitu, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and National Chairman John Mbadi described the move as “offensive” and questioned the motive behind it.

The new development has sent cold shivers down the spines of politicians known to have been riding on Raila’s back during elections to win seats. It is an open secret that in Luo Nyanza, if you are not vying for an ODM ticket, then your chances of winning remain slim. It is for this reason that Raila’s absence from the political arena in 2027 will open up democratic space in Luo Nyanza politics.

Sources say all politicians who lost in the last general elections in Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, and Homa Bay counties are looking forward to vibrant, open, transparent, and competitive elections in 2027.

Analysts now say that with Raila out of the political scene, there will be a bigger number of political orphans after the 2027 elections, as politicians who have been lucky to win elections courtesy of Raila and ODM may never win in a free and fair party nomination