The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is drawing up its 2017 battle plan and dividing the country into three zones — Orange, blue and red.
Blue zone is for battle zones, orange for ‘safe’ opposition strongholds and red for weak, vulnerable areas — Jubilee turf.
ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba told the STAR the party is being restructured, once again, in an effort to end the frequent nominations disasters — including violent disruptions, quarrels, divisions and voter apathy. Indifference of the electorate in Raila’s strongholds has “slowed down his presidential momentum,” Ababu said.
Party chairman John Mbadi said elaborate rules will be ratified by June to ensure smooth nominations and prevent discord.
Candidates will be thoroughly vetted to weed out Jubilee moles and potential traitors using ODM for a free ride, so they can jump to Jubilee.
“This aims to give us a clear picture of areas where we are strong, those that we must fight for against our opponents and those where we seem to be weak. This way we can develop the best methods for nominations to curb fallout,” Mbadi said.Blue Zones A — Battlefields
“Here we will battle it out. It will be a matter of life and death and in these zones we must avoid fielding weak candidates, only the strong,” Mbadi said. The public will vote on nominees.
It includes Nairobi ( 1,868,551 registered voters), parts of the Rift Valley, Maasailand, Turkana, Pokot and Samburu counties (altogether 891,092 votes) and Northeastern
( 345,980 ).
Deputy President William Ruto has challenged ODM to a duel for the capital city, especially the governor’s office.
ODM says it will “fight tooth and nail” to keep Evans Kidero in office and retain other seats.
Orange Zones B — strongholds
“Here, getting a ticket is as good as winning the election,” Mbadi said.
In these orange bastions, the party can afford to allow the public to nominate.
It includes Nyanza ( 2,226,671 votes), Coast ( 1,198,216 ) and Western
( 1,616,518 ).
However, ODM will have to battle for full control of Western with Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress and Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya parties. Only Ford Kenya is a Cord member.
Red Zones C — Pro Jubilee“These are areas where ODM is perceived to be weak. Here we will give direct nominations to our strongest candidates,” Mbadi said.
It includes Central Kenya
( 2,398,815 votes), South and North Rift Valley ( 3,757,776 ) and Upper Eastern ( 1,004,686 )
Lower Eastern ( 1,111,977 voters) is not colour-coded. ODM is likely to back Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper candidates in Ukambani.
Non-Cord members, like Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi, dismissed the ODM zone strategy as “a PR exercise not grounded in the current reality”.
Director of communications Kibisu Kabatesi said the move is meant to intimidate and gain a psychological advantage over Cord partners.
“Reality check: Disillusionment resulting from ODM defections to ANC has thinned ODM influence. Fatigue with supporting Rao (Raila) has eaten into the ODM support base. ODM like Jubilee remnants don’t have any more confidence to publicly advocate for the party,” he said.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula (UDF) said Western has “its own political strategy that is being developed gradually”.
ODM chair Mbadi emphasised the party will scrutinise all potential candidates for loyalty.
“This will ensure we do not elect leaders who only join ODM for the purpose of winning an election and later shift allegiance to our opponents,” Mbadi said.
ODM MPs who have shifted allegiance to Jubilee include Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi
North), Ken Obura (Kisumu Central), Stephen Kariuki (Mathare), Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale woman representative), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Mustapha Iddi (Kilifi South).
This time round, ODM will have both national and county election boards and constituency panels to coordinate elections.
ODM has 96 MPs, followed by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA with 88 and DP William Ruto’s URP with 76.
ODM partners in Cord: Wiper has 26 MPs and Ford Kenya 10.
ODM leads other parties in the counties with a total of 16 governors and 17 senators. URP has 10 governors and 12 Senators. TNA has eight governors and 17 senators.
Keep it Waza as the battle shapes up for 2017 general elections.