Even as ODM holds its parliamentary group meeting at the Safari Park Hotel this morning, this blogger is informed that ODM is facing a daunting task in assuring its supporters that the party remains united and will emerge victorious following today's party nominations for the by elections.
There have been rumours of shadow-boxing in ODM and supporters fear that PNU and KANU have indeed infiltrated the ODM ranks including up to the Prime Minister's office. The anxiety peaked when ODM announced it had disbanded the National Elections Board previously headed by Justice (rtd) Richard Otieno Kwach and replaced it with a new team headed by former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi. No explanations have been forthcoming from the party why the Kwach team has had to be disposed.
Today, the public is singularly focused on ODM with all the mainstream media currently broadcasting regular updates on the on-going ODM nominations and the party's PG meeting.
As in the 2007 general elections, the ODM is once again showing political parties in Kenya why and how to conduct primaries in electing representatives to face opponents in the main elections.
Considering PNU, NARC-K, FORD-K, KADDU, etc have all intimated that they will be fielding independent candidates for these elections, it is strange that for the last one week, newspapers, TV and radio stations are only reporting on the ODM nomination exercise as it is the only political party in Kenya and its nominee will be the automatic MP.
For undisclosed reasons and not surprisingly, the ODM-K is not fielding even a single candidate in the by-elections and will instead support those of the PNU. Whereas Raila's ODM is in cabinet by right, Kalonzo's ODM-K owes cabinet positions to PNU and it is avoiding antagonistic actions that might be misinterpreted by its senior partner as a challenge to authority. Whichever way one looks at it, ODM-K MPs in cabinet are at the mercy of PNU - whatever the political subject in question! One would have expected a decision as to whether or not to field candidates to be made at a party National Delegates Congress, and certainly not at some backyard office in Nairobi as ODM-K is doing.