In the recent years, The ODM Party has been hitting the headlines at least not for the good reasons but for shambolic and violence marred party primaries that had come to be associated with it dating back to the botched national elections in Kasarani, one associated with the famous men in black.
The Kibra by-election could not have come at a better time when the ability of the party to conduct fair, credible, free and verifiable elections was at stake in a very tightly contested race in Nairobi county to be precise. Unbeknown to many, naysayers had always banked on acrimonious nominations as a strategy to vilify and whip up emotions against Baba. Ironically, even those who dished out certificates to their girlfriends and fellow economic saboteurs were waiting for a violent exercise so as to make political as well as financial capital out of it.
The ANC Party Leader who is the accomplice of one William Ruto has been left with rotten egg on his face as their rat race game will now only land them into muddy ditches. The duo expected nothing less than an aggrieved electorate had ODM failed to conduct a free and fair nominations exercise but ODM seized the moment and has redeemed itself earning back public trust that was depleting day by day.
ODM party shamed its enemies by giving opportunity for all and stayed the course of respecting the will of the people of Kibra. From over twenty candidates who had originally shown interest, ODM gave them all a chance by first introducing them to the voters and subsequently clearing ten after vetting.
Despite low voter turnout and normal hitches reported here and there, the party has demonstrated and assured the faithful that it’s still committed to its democratic ideals which are tenable. These principles can work to deliver free, fair, credible and verifiable nominations in which all parties are satisfied with the outcome in a very transparent manner.
This exercise was made possible by aspirants stating their trust in the processes they were to be subjected to. This would not have been possible if one or more aspirants sponsored violence as an orthodox means to landing the certificate which has been synonymous in many of the party primaries.
Imran Bernard Okoth having been nominated in a seamless process will be an easier sell to the wider electorate as he is now the de jure people’s candidate not a handpicked one as is the case with other parties in Kibra.
Those prepared to dispose of parts of the loot of looted public funds in Kibra, should now be very afraid. You do not dare one Raila Odinga. If you challenge him on a free, fair, credible and verifiable nominations process then he gives nothing less. That is part of what makes him the enigma, the ability to time and again do the right thing being the scion of electoral democracy.
Imran being among the younger contestants shows the great lengths that Baba went to in order to keep his word which he gave to the people of Kibra that the nomination will indeed be free and fair.
You have to give it to ODM, they have rightfully reclaimed their spot as the only party with full internal democracy that is responsive to the wishes of the common man on the ground. Once again ODM has set the pace and it will be interesting to see if in future contests all political parties employ this model of truly participative democracy.
For all intents and purposes ODM party won back the Kibra seat last night.