ODM gives rebels new lease of life, invites party hoppers and rebels back

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rebels and hoppers have a reason to smile after the party’s top organ gave them a blanket amnesty.

ODM Central Management Committee (CMC) Tuesday brokered the deal to allow party hoppers and rebels back into the party but they must seek clearance from the National Elections Board (NEB) if they wish to contest in elections.

While some members have maintained that they should be given a new lease of life in the party, others have vehemently opposed the move arguing that some could be ‘moles’ sent by political opponents to wreck the party.

“The Central Management Committee has resolved to declare a blanket amnesty for all former members who may have left the party for one reason or other. You are all welcome back home to fully participate in the party elections and activities,” said ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba.

During a closed-door meeting chaired by party leader Raila Odinga and his deputy and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, CMC resolved that the former members who may have contested any position on the ticket of other parties and now wish to seek leadership positions in ODM may apply to NEB for clearance.

The meeting comes in the wake of a stalemate over whether to allow party hoppers and rebels to participate in party elections or not.

According to Namwamba, the critical committee relied on provisions of the party’s Election and Nomination Rules Section 8 (d).

“We are sorry to disappoint those who expected a blood bath over this matter. We have now settled this matter once and for all,” said Namwamba.

The party also received a report on preparations for grassroots elections, adding that the upcoming party elections will be held in counties as planned.

National Executive Committee (NEC) had mandated CMC to establish whether party hoppers and rebels should be allowed to contest in the upcoming ODM elections and to make recommendations to NEC.

And even though some members expressed their reservations to give party rebels and hoppers a lifeline, the resolution of CMC is now binding.

The Orange party has planned a weekend retreat and top on the agenda is a mid-term review of the overall performance of the party and to receive a report from strategy team as part of internal planning.

Apart from mid-term review, the contentious issue of change of election date, the performance of the Opposition both inside and outside Parliament and the gender rule will be discussed.

Sources also told The Standard that National Assembly Minority Leader Francis Nyenze’s performance will be reviewed and its resolutions tabled at the coalition management committee.