ODM Addresses Reports Of Turmoil Over Raila's Bid For AU Chairperson

The ODM party, since its inception, has remained the most consequential political organization in multiparty Kenya.

ODM Addresses Reports Of Turmoil Over Raila's Bid For AU Chairperson
Raila Odinga speaking at Homa Bay County on November 14, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) has denied reports of divisions within the political outfit after its party leader, Raila Odinga declared his interest in succeeding Moussa Faki as the African Union (AU) Chairperson.

In a statement, ODM Secretary-General, Edwin Sifuna, accused the media of propagating false narratives and skewed pseudo-analysis about reported succession politics within the ODM party.

"It hasn't escaped notice that these fake news items appear coordinated, well-choreographed, and consistent, which suggests a well-woven plot to incite division within the Party is afoot.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna speaking during the first edition of the Battle of The Choirs Festival on April 10, 2023. /EDWIN SIFUNA

"In these reports, media houses are falling over themselves to create the perception of factional fights in our party over non-existent vacancies," Sifuna lamented.

He argued that the ODM party, since its inception, has remained the most consequential political organization in multiparty Kenya.

He however termed it as no mean feat which has been achieved by a strong leadership foundation, vibrant party structures, credible values, and a strong party membership base, virtues that form the basis upon which any succession or filling of vacant leadership positions is conducted.

Sifuna affirmed that the party would make public transitions within its leadership if such a time and scenario arose.

"May it go on record that H.E. Rt Hon Raila Odinga, in seeking the AU position, has not made any pronouncements regarding his local political future, and remains the Party Leader of ODM.

"We urge our members not to fall for the narratives currently being churned by the media. The party remains strong, focused on its mandate, and working for the masses in its role as the people's watchman. The biggest issue afflicting Kenyans today is the high cost of living and not party political succession," he added.

The ODM SG stressed the party's open-door policy and its continued updating of all events and programs it conducts through the media, urging journalists to approach them should they feel the need to seek credible reports.

The statement came after reports claimed that there is a split between former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and former Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho over the Raila succession.

Following his declaration on Thursday, February 15, Raila's bid for the top AU job received a boost, from political antagonists from the Kenya Kwanza regime to former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Within the Azimio camp, he also received support from proponents including Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino who reaffirmed that Raila is the right candidate for the job.

"This is a welcome decision considering the vast experience that Odinga has on matters of the African Continent and why Africa needs to be moved to the next level of economic reliance," Owino stated.

"Odinga is a Pan-Africanist, a peacemaker and a man who has a penchant for good leadership and governance. He believes Africa will be emancipated politically, socially and economically if African leaders pull in one direction and hold on to one agenda, a United Africa."

On the other hand, several politicians have offered a different opinion on the matter, accusing the Kenya Kwanza regime of plotting to force the former prime minister to exit the local politics as the country gears up for the 2027 General Election.

In the event Raila succeeds in replacing Former Prime Minister of Chad Moussa Faki Mahamat whose term as AU chairperson lapses this year, he will be barred from engaging in local politics until the end of his term, which would mean being locked out of contention for the presidential seat in 2027.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (right) endorsing Azimio Leader Raila Odinga for AU Chairmanship on February 15, 2023. /ODM