New ODM rules to bar civil servants from party ticket - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

New ODM rules to bar civil servants from party ticket


The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has issued a decree on membership that is likely to lock out civil servants and other employees seeking its ticket ahead of the 2022 General Election. 

In particular, civil servants who wish to vie for positions in 2022 will be adversely affected as they will be required to resign at least one year to the polls. 

In a statement issued by the party yesterday and signed by Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna and National Chairman John Mbadi, the party announced that potential aspirants on its ticket in 2022 have until August this year to register for life membership. 

“Following last Friday’s meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), and subsequent deliberations on one’s eligibility to contest for an elective position on the ODM ticket in the 2022 General Election, we wish to let potential aspirants know that they have up to August this year (2021) to register for life membership status in the party.

“This means that, for one to be cleared to contest for any elective position on the ODM party ticket, he or she must have been a member for at least one year,” read the ODM statement.  It further added that“...only a life member will be eligible to vie on the party ticket in the General Election.”

Life membership costs at least Sh20,000. Section 23 of the Leadership and Integrity Act prohibits state officers from acting as agents or promoting interests of a political party. 

“An appointed state officer, other than a cabinet secretary or a member of the county executive committee, shall not act as an agent or further the interests of a political party in an election; or manifest support for or opposition to any political party or candidate,” it states.

With ODM’s new plan, it would mean that either public officer’s resign one year to the elections and subscribe to the party’s membership or seek for alternative parties where the order isn’t applicable. Initially, Section 45 (5) of the Elections Act required public servants gunning for political seats to leave office six months to the polls.

Stolen primaries

However, in the run up to the 2017 elections, Employment and Labour Relations Court struck out the provision. Justice Njagi Marete, sitting in Kericho, declared Section 43(5) of the Election Act, 2011 unconstitutional and without any legal basis.

The orders quashed a letter written by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua on December1, 2016 which required public servants eyeing elective posts to vacate office on or before February 7.

Justice Marete ruled that the enactment of the provision was not subjected to public participation as required by the constitution.

Some civil servants aspiring for elective positions in 2022 on ODM ticket yesterday described the new policy as “retrogressive and likely to block those whose win in primaries are stolen.”

Those who spoke to Nation on condition of anonymity said “it will block most of us from contesting because we can’t be members of a political party while still serving government.”

“Further still, it will perpetuate unfairness since should your win be stolen, you may not be allowed to defect to other parties for being a life member of ODM,” a government officer said.
Political analyst Dismas Mokua described ODM’s move as “an interesting requirement that serves several purposes.”

“The party wants to ensure that anybody who is running for office on an ODM ticket does so because ODM is the party of choice and not as a Plan B and it also seeks to avoid last minute defections from the party,” he said.

Life membership

ODM is also keen to stop infiltration from the competition, Mr Mokua said.

“The competition may sponsor candidates to run on ODM tickets in ODM strongholds, but shift allegiance after elections. So ODM wants to take a headcount and create a strong database of their 2022 candidates. This is also a strategic fundraising strategy,” Mr Mokua added.

This came just a day when police spokesperson Charles Owino announced that he will retire in December to run for the Siaya gubernatorial seat in 2022.

Mr Owino hinted at vying on an ODM ticket. This means that he must apply for an ODM life membership before December. Reached for comment, Mr Mbadi said the concerns were valid and added that the NEC would consider exempting civil servants.

“NEC can extend the time for them. They can apply to NEC for a waiver and it can be considered case by case based on merit,” Mr Mbadi said. ODM launched its 2022 presidential bid with calls for those interested in its ticket to apply by noon of February 26.

ODM’s deputy party leaders — Governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) — had told Nation they would apply for the ticket and possibly face off with Mr Odinga should he also express his interest.

Mr Sifuna confirmed that the party had received Mr Joho’s application but maintained he was not aware of the state of Mr Odinga’s and Mr Oparanya’s applications. ODM National Elections Board chairperson Catherine Mumma was non-committal on the applications.

“We have a team that receives the names and I don’t check until after the deadline,” she said yesterday, adding that, the team would do an analysis and report to them. They would then start vetting the aspirants.


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