Kenya’s main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya) held a rally Sunday with all its presidential aspirants present, to show unity within the top leadership of the party. The rally comes after a recent poll showed party presidential aspirant Raila Odinga second to incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki. There were earlier fears that the public meeting might not be successful, due to speculation that some of the presidential aspirants would not attend. The rally, which was held in Nakuru, was reportedly well attended, with the stadium where it was held filled to record capacity.
From Nakuru, ODM-Kenya general secretary, Professor Anyang' Nyong'o, tells VOA English to Africa Service reporter Peter Clottey that the party is ready to win this year’s presidential election.
“It was attended by 250-thousand people, the stadium was full, and there were other people outside. All the six presidential candidates were there, and they all spoke with unison, confirming that the party is united and the leadership is united, and is ready and determined to win the next election,” Nyong'o pointed out.
He said dissenting views expressed by some executive members of the party do not necessarily mean the party is in jeopardy.
“You know when the Republicans or the Democrats are vying for their primaries, they always engage in the same kind of exchange of words and competition. And now, here in Kenya when are having competition people are saying we are fighting. When we are discussing, people are saying we are wrangling. For about ten years, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were puling hopes in the UK for the leadership of the Labor Party, and the prime ministership, those were not called wrangles,” he said.
Nyong'o said any of the party’s presidential aspirants is capable of defeating the incumbent president in this year’s election.
“I think that President Kibaki is leading at 45%, only because we have not nominated our candidate. Once we nominate our candidate, and realizing that even now, if you add the support of all the ODM-candidates, they are more than Kibaki’s. Once we nominate our candidate, I’m very sure that the support is going to be so overwhelming we shall beat Kibaki. In any case, Kibaki doesn’t have a political party he is running on at the moment. He doesn’t even have a team around him,” Nyong'o noted.
He said KANU, which forms part of the coalition that formed the ODM-Kenya is separated from the party.
“For all intents and purposes, KANU is already out of the ODM-Kenya because their behavior shows exactly that they are out of the ODM-Kenya. And I’m not talking about KANU as the people who have been supporting KANU. I’m talking about KANU as the leadership around Uhuru Kenyatta. And if Uhuru Kenyatta goes out of ODM-Kenya, the people will remain in ODM-Kenya. And the two percent that KANU enjoys at the moment would even fade further,” he said.