In Kenya, the newly formed Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya held rallies over the weekend to gather grass root support. This follows a two-day retreat attended by leading members of the party that focused on putting structures in place for next year’s general elections. Meanwhile, former president Arap Moi has sharply disagreed with his son on the issue of members of the Kanu party joining the ODM-Kenya.
Gideon who is also a member of parliament for Baringo Central said he saw nothing wrong with the party joining ODM-Kenya, but added there was a need to endorse the decision by the party's members through a Kanu-Kenya National Delegates' Conference.
Gideon said the terms of engagement of Kanu-Kenya and the other parties making up ODM-Kenya needed to be discussed and made clear to the party members to avoid any misunderstandings about the merger in future. He said he would prefer a system where Kanu-Kenya was a corporate member of ODM-Kenya, as opposed to the current situation where the new party is composed of individual members.
Sources say the former president has been upset by the defection of many senior party officers led by secretary general William Ruto, and others.
Last week, the former President made a last-ditch effort to stop the ODM-Kenya momentum in the Rift Valley ahead of Friday's public rally organized by the party in Eldoret town. That was the first in a series of meetings in western Kenya aimed at drumming up support for the newly registered party. Yesterday the ODM-Kenya group held a rally in Kakamega.
William Ruto is a leading member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya). He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Clottey about the ODM-Kenya organized rallies over the weekend.
“The response to ODM-Kenya across the country is overwhelming. We had the biggest ever crowd in Eldoret on Friday, a very huge crowd in Kakamega on Saturday despite, messaged of disruptions from our competitors who on the material day on Saturday were nowhere to be seen. We had a record today [Sunday] in Kisumu, where I think close to 10,000 were in attendance. And we’ve just started. These are the first few rallies of ODM-Kenya. And the writing is on the wall for our competitors,” he said.
Ruto says the decision of who becomes the presidential candidate is not a priority but minor subject that would be dealt with in a matter of time.
“The issue of nominating a presidential candidate did not rise for two reasons. One, we are developing a party not just for the next general elections; we are developing a party for posterity. Two, it did not arise because at the moment, we are engaged in thinking through how the party is going to look like, in terms of structure. And secondly, we are developing the issues upon which this party is going to be founded. The more important issues that are engaging our minds at the moment is what are the basics of ODM-Kenya? What are the issues that the people of Kenya can look up to ODM-Kenya for? And what is the identity of ODM-Kenya in terms of what we stand for vis-a-viz, what our competition stand for. And those are the issues that are engaging our minds. The issue of a presidential candidate or a flag bearer, is a minor issue which is going to come up somewhere down the road. And we have the party structure, which we are currently developing is going to take acre of it,” he noted.
On the reasons behind ex president Moi’s opposition to the ODM-Kenya, Ruto said, “the former president is a member of Kanu and Kanu has its leadership. The decisions as to which way Kanu will go is not for the former president to decide. He is a member, he is entitled to his opinion, we respect everybody’s opinion. But we decide as the officials of the party, which way the party will go. The issues raised by the former president, are issues that are well within our purview. And we will take the right decisions for the party. We have already taken what we believe is in the best interest of the party,” he said.
Meanwhile the ex-president’s son is urging Kanu supporters to remain steadfast and strengthen the party so that it is in a position to bargain with others to influence the future political events in the country.
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