The ODM Party is facing unpredictable future as its main adhesive, Raila Odinga, stares at a future with little prospects for him individually.
Little is expected from the Supreme Court, where NASA is today expected to file a petition to challenge the re-election of President Uhuru. Nearly all the judges do not share the ‘struggle’ or ‘second liberation’ reforms history with Mr. Odinga, save for Justice Mohammed Ibrahim, who was briefly detained in the 1980s.
This petition also occurs in the backdrop of near unanimity by all global political actors who observed last week’s polls that the election was peaceful and free, thus fair and credible. It means the whole international order is staked against Odinga, whose globalist credentials has been part of his political capital.
It is therefore expected that the fall of Odinga will usher in the collapse of the political machinery above which he has remained such a powerful political player – the ODM Party.
As the titular head of ODM, Odinga ensured ODM remained a force to reckon with, and the party in this election won seats in some of the most unexpected places, even as it lost in many other places.
All along, weakening ODM from within was a top Jubilee strategy. The initial tactic employed was to poach some of the party’s strong and young pillars, like its former Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, and have them wreck havoc internally.
This strategy faltered with the failure of the Ababu group to wrestle control of ODM from Raila’s innercore in 2015. Many of those who joined forces with Ababu would later quit the party. Adan Keynan, John Waluke, Paul Otuoma, Khatib Mwashetani, Mustaffa Idi, Samuel Arama, Gideon Mung’aro, Mwanaisha Chidzuga. Some remained, and worked their way back to Raila’s fold, like Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho.
The other strategy Jubilee employed was formation of regional parties, all which pledged to ‘work with the government of the day’. These parties, particularly in northern Kenya, nearly eviscerated ODM, which has won less than five seats in the whole northern frontier.
In western Kenya, Jubilee Party “won” upset polls across the breadth of the region, which ODM had ceded to weak NASA parties as a bargain to having Raila as the joint presidential candidate.
Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC and Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya could not stop the Jubilee tsunami, and ODM strategists will be asking themselves if it was in the best party’s interest to let the region become a playfield of its ‘sister parties’.
Failure by the joint opposition to form a single party, as Jubilee had done when it collapsed TNA and URP, also saw ODM lose seats to Jubilee by splintering votes to the so called “NASA affiliates”, especially in battleground areas.
This saw ODM lose over twenty seats including Raila’s former constituency of Lang’ata, which will now be represented in parliament by Nickson Korir, first Kalenjin to win a seat in Nairobi. Korir beat the ODM candidate with less than two thousand votes, while third placed Wiper candidate garnered more than five thousand votes. Such cases were replicated in many other areas.
For Jubilee, which is set to field Deputy President William Ruto for the 2022 presidential election, completely degrading ODM is work in progress. It remains to be seen if the ODM party, itself an immovable, will overcome the gnashing onslaught by the now more equipped and well resourced ruling regime party – Jubilee.