The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has been thrown into confusion after its leader Raila Odinga’s failed to apply for its 2022 presidential ticket, effectively locking him out of the race.
The surprise move has thrown the DP Ruto camp into confussion as the ODM party leader has for a long time been their punching bag even as they embarked on early campaigns to discredit Odinga and market Ruto believing that the former Prime Minister will be on the ballot.
The Tanga Tanga brigade is hard at task trying to figure out what Odinga could be up to.
ODM party top party luminaries remained quiet on the matter even as it became apparent that a crisis is loading with Raila’s fate now lying in the hands of one of its highest decision making organ, the Central Committee.
Party Secretary General Edwin Sifunaconfirmed to a local publication that the decision to advertise for the position was arrived at by the Central Committee (CC), which directed the National Elections Board (NEB) and on the CC can give the way forward.
“It is the CC that instructed NEB. I am only a Secretary to CC. For now, CC has not made any decision. If and when they make, we shall make it public,” said Sifuna.
Well placed-sources divulged that Raila could be given a new window to submit his application when the CC readvertises vacancies for its presidential flagbearer to enable Raila to apply for the position.
“NEB could re-advertise and say that those who submitted did not qualify or did not meet the criteria. But that could trigger a storm.
“Unless they advertise for fresh application but tell Joho and Oparanya not to apply and that their application is still valid. Either way the party is in Catch 22 situation,” said the source.
The deadline for March 31st set by the party’s elections body headed by Ms Catherine Mumma elapsed without Raila submitting his application.
The party has so far received only two applications: Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya.
In a statement released on Friday, Sifuna indicated Raila was not among those who had applied, contradicting an earlier statement released by Mumma.
“At the close of the application period, the party received only two applications from Joho and Oparanya. These will be processed in the usual manner by the NEB,” said Sifuna.
“The NEB shall scrutinise the three applications, vet the candidates as required by the ODM elections and Nominations Rules and subsequently, thereto announce the next processes and time taken in accordance with the ODM constitution,” said Mumma, in a statement Sifuna later said was an April Fools Day prank.
Having Raila missing on the ODM ticket is likely to cause an uproar in the ODM party leader’s support base.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma gave a clearer picture of the feelings of many ODM supporters in the wake of the revelations that he could be missing on the ballot.
Taking to Twitter, the MP stated that “Raila Amolo Odinga will be on the ballot in 2022 to be our 5th President ‘apende, asipende!.”