Thursday, January 3, 2013

Raila, Kalonzo strike deal on poll strategy.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at past event.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy principals have agreed on a nominations strategy they are banking on to win them majority seats in both chambers and counties during March 4 elections
CORD presidential flag-bearer Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his running mate, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford-Kenya leader and Trade Minister Moses Wetangula on Thursday held a daylong meeting to discuss and agree on a strategy for nominations under their coalition banner.

The three, who met at the Vice-President’s new official residence in Karen, Nairobi, refined their strategy for upcoming CORD nominations slated for January 17, a day before the official deadline for party primaries.

The leaders, according to insiders, have agreed to reconstitute Raila’s presidential campaign secretariat to bring on board representatives from Kalonzo’s Wiper Democratic Movement and the Trade minister’s Ford Kenya as well as the other smaller parties affiliated to CORD.

The CORD presidential secretariat, which has been dominated by Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement, would be mandated with the task of setting up the diary for coalition’s national presidential campaigns.

The presidential campaign secretariat, which will also control the national elections kitty for CORD, will be operating from an office currently being furnished at Upper Hill, Nairobi. The office is being put up at what was dubbed the Red Card Centre, which housed the ‘No’ team’s secretariat during the 2010 referendum on the Constitution.

The principals were briefed by the coalition management team on the nomination process, and harmonisation of presidential secretariat, by involving other CORD parties.

The estimated ten smaller parties that referred to us CORD partners will be allowed to field candidates in the regions where they have candidates but will be facilitated to campaign for the presidential mandate.

Sources say Kalonzo’s WMD will retain almost exclusive rights to field candidates in the Ukambani part of Eastern Province but was requested to find a way of accommodating partners like former MPs Kivutha Kibwana, Kalembe Ndile and Chama Cha Uzalendo leader Wavinya Ndeti who are in CORD through their own parties.

In the region commonly referred to as Luo-Nyanza, ODM will also enjoy the same status but in cosmopolitan areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and other urban centres, the management team was tasked with finding the best ways of nominating a candidate who will enhance the alliance’s chances to win majority of seats.

The management team comprises ODM ministers Mr Dalmas Otieno, Prof Anyang Nyong’o and Mr James Orengo as well as WMD’s MPs Johnstone Muthama, Mutula Kilonzo and David Musila. Kimilili MP Esseli Simiyu stood in for Ford-Kenya.

The team met on Wednesday at minister Otieno’s office to deliberate on the joint presidential campaign as well as the nominations.

With the blessing of the three leaders, the team will also finalise a formula for parties to decide on areas they will use the delegate system and voting in nominations as well as those where universal suffrage using respective party, membership cards and national Identity Cards, will be used.

Raila’s advisor Salim Lone confirmed the Karen meeting and explained that the leaders discussed a wide range of issues related to the forthcoming elections and the rolling out of their campaigns.

“Yes the leaders met this morning (Thursday) and discussed several issues touching on the elections and rolling out coalition’s campaign programme,” Lone said.

As the three principals met in Karen, the ten small parties affiliated to CORD met separately at the Serena Hotel before briefing Raila in his office in the afternoon.

“The CORD partner parties met separately and later with the presidential candidate (Raila) to strategise on how to create synergy or collaboration so as not to avoid duplication,” former MP Omingo Magara said.

Magara added that they were in the process of discussing the campaign programme so as to involve all the parties and explained the executive committee was set to meet later last night to iron out the programme.

Representatives from CCU, Kadu Asili, Kenya Social Congress, TIP, Mkenya Solidarity Movement, United Democratic Movement and People’s Democratic Party, among others, attended the meeting.

PDP chairman Stephen Nyarangi revealed the PM had assured the parties they will not be denied an opportunity to field candidates and had asked them to campaign in their strongholds to ensure CORD secures victory. “We have had a fruitful meeting with our presidential candidate and he has assured us that small parties will retain their right to field candidates while at the same time being facilitated to campaign for him to ensure CORD wins with a majority,” Nyarangi added.

Kalonzo is this morning expected to meet over 1,000 aspirants for various seats in the Lower Eastern (Ukambani) region at the Machakos Golf Club.

The VP will be striving to assure the aspirants of a fair and free party nomination process. He will also tell them how those who will be in areas set aside for joint nominations will fight it out.

Lone said that a decision will be made and announced soon. “Yes they have looked at the issue of nominations but details of how to conduct the exercise will be made public soon,” he said.

On Wednesday, while announcing a fresh nomination date of January 17, ODM National Elections Board Chairman Franklin Bett revealed that CORD partners would agree on criteria and modalities for nominations in areas where they will conduct joint nominations. “Our party is disciplined and will work with other parties to conduct a smooth nomination exercise. We are keen to ensure the exercise is smooth,’’ Bett assured CORD supporters.

He confirmed ODM and other partner parties would apply both delegates and universal suffrage systems in their primaries. He ruled out direct nominations.