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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Mudavadi shocked as Raila side skips meeting
By Peter Orengo and Vitalis Kimutai
Orange Democratic Movement has filed its registration documents, including the party constitution making the presidential ticket the entitlement of the party leader, but with a notice to amend.
But this was not the only depressing news for Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, who wants the amendments because it makes the presidential ticket the entitlement of the party leader, Raila Odinga.
Orange Democratic Movement Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o submitting party compliance documents for registration to the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u (left), in Nairobi on Tuesday. [Photo: Govedi Asutsa/Standard].
This is because a meeting of the legal committee picked by both sides of the presidential ticket race to work out the necessary amendments in the party rules and constitution failed to take off in the afternoon after the Prime Minister’s side kept off, leading to a lack of quorum.
Even after failing to meet over Easter as directed by the National Executive Committee last week, yesterday only three members – Mweresa Eboso, Dan Ameyo and Judy Pareno – who are perceived in ODM to be sympathetic to Mudavadi, showed up.
Those who kept off included the Prime Minister’s advisor on Coalition Affairs Paul Mwangi, ODM executive director Janet Ong’era, Tom Ojwang’, Joseph Kiangoi, and Mugambi Imanyara, who is the chairman, and reportedly convened the meeting yesterday after the ODM secretariat appeared reluctant to do so.
“The amendments are ready.We need to sit down and confirm them, but it is clear one side appeared determined to file the old constitution then kill the proposed changes by delaying the convening of the committee,’’ said a member of the legal team allied to Mudavadi.
He added: “We stayed in Nairobi over Easter as directed by NEC, but no one convened the meeting. When we demanded we meet today we were told Nairobi Club is overbooked and it would not be possible. We then suggested we meet at Orange House and that is when the chairman called the meeting.’’
He went on: “But he (Imanyara) did not attend. We were just three of us waiting for two hours after which we gave up because there was no quorum,’’ said a member of the team on condition of anonymity so as not to be seen to be fanning the bad situation.
Attention would now turn to Mudavadi, who insists the controversial clause should have been changed before filing of registration documents with the Registrar of Political Parties.
Mudavadi, who is Raila’s deputy both in the Grand Coalition Cabinet and ODM, has argued that the amendment has to be done for the party to look democratic and to ensure fair competition.
“He does not approve of what is going on in ODM. He believes there was room for the party constitution to be amended before applying for registration. He is obviously not happy about the turn of events,’’ said a friend of the Sabatia MP, who did not want to be quoted as Mudavadi had not authorised him to speak on the matter.
He added: “He is not happy that the papers have been filed even before the resolutions of NEC (National Executive Committee) are effected. His fears are made worse by the fact that after (last week’s) meeting, the Secretary General was quoted saying the ODM bus has its driver.”
In the move that is likely to further worsen relations between the Raila- Mudavadi ODM blocs, top party leadership submitted the papers even before the legal team could meet, leave alone reach a compromise.
But ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o submitted the compliance documents to the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u, and promised that the party constitution would be amended.
“We intend to amend Article 6.2.1 of the constitution on election and nomination rules. The proposals shall be submitted to the National Governing Council and National Delegates Convention for ratification,” Prof Nyong’o said.
He announced these changes would be communicated to the Registrar at a later date. Unlike in past ODM functions, which always bear fanfare and display of might, missing from the party cast at Ndung’u’s office, were Chairman Henry Kosgey, Mudavadi, and Raila.
“There is nothing like papers were presented by factional leadership. Even one individual can do presentation of papers. What is so unique in just filing returns?” Nyong’o later asked The Standard in an interview.
He added: “Why is the media asking why chairman, party leader, deputy party leader, and other officials were absent? Why didn’t they ask such questions when the other parties presented? I am amused at the selective yardstick applied to ODM on political parties coverage.”
“Chairman Henry Kosgey signed all papers that we presented to the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u, and she was satisfied with the documents we gave. The Vice- Chairman Ramadhan Kajembe was present and represented that office well,” Nyong’o said.
Mudavadi, a section of MPs, and party officials have also demanded that nomination of a presidential candidate be done at the counties, as opposed to the delegates being summoned to Nairobi like in 2007.
Cabinet Minister Dalmas Otieno, Assistant Minister Lang’at Magerer, Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Kajembe, MPs Rachel Shebesh, Millie Odhiambo, former Makadara MP, Reuben Ndolo, and Kisumu politician Rosa Buyu were among those who accompanied Nyong’o.
Before presenting the documents, 58 national officials, including MPs and NEC members, met at Orange House and left in a convoy to Anniversary Towers clad in party colours.
Namwamba said ODM constitution could not be changed until the party gets a certificate of compliance from the Registrar.
“ODM is not in an emergency and the amendments would not be carried out at the whim of an individual,” Namwamba argued.
He said that the Secretary General had notified the Registrar of ODM’s intention for amendments.
Namwamba said the procedure demands that a notification is given 14 days to the Registrar and the matter published in at least two major national newspapers before a green light is given.
He claimed that Mudavadi’s supporters were not present because they were not party officials. On Tuesday, a source close to Mudavadi was reported as saying presentation of party compliance documents was a clerical issue, and he did not have to be there in person.
Last evening, Mudavadi’s allies led by Assistant Minister George Khaniri argued there was mischief.
“They should have implemented the changes as agreed by NEC before rushing the documents to the Registrar. But we are determined to make sure that the contentious clauses are removed to pave the way for free and fair nominations,” vowed Khaniri.
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito said they would still push for amendments to allow Mudavadi to contest for the party presidential ticket.
A text message from the secretariat had invited all officials to the presentation. Mudavadi’s director of communications Kibisu Kabatesi had earlier indicated DPM would not attend the function since there was nothing to gain from it.
Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu said they would have to sit down and find the best way forward. “If we cannot be democratic at party level, how are we going to be democratic when we form government?” he asked.