We’ll change law to end primaries mess, says Raila

NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga during a consultative meeting with Nyanza Presidential Campaign Team (NPCT) in Kisumu on June 2 2017. PIC BY COLLINS ODUOR

National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga says his government will push for radical amendments to the Political Parties Act to stop the nominations mess that is haunting political parties.

Raila said the current laws were unfair to political parties as it gave the Political Parties Tribunal, courts and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) powers to impose candidates on the people.

“We will move with speed to amend the Political Parties Act to give the parties room for picking their preferred candidates during elections without interference because this is the best way to avoid the mess and confusion during primaries,” he said in Kisumu during a meeting with ODM nominees and those who lost in the primaries. He spoke only hours after ODM moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the IEBC’s decision to clear Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga as its candidate.

In its notice of appeal, the party protested that the High Court and the IEBC were imposing Mr Anyanga on them even after they presented their candidate — trade unionist Tom Odege.

“Political parties are like membership clubs with their own constitutions and rules. They should not be dictated on who to nominate,” Raila said.

The ODM leader struck a reconciliation tone as he addressed party nominees for various seats and those who lost in the nominations. He told those who lost to forget the past and help him get maximum votes from Nyanza and Western regions.

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He said he had convened the meeting following hue and cry over the outcome of the party nominations. “Party nomination is not election but selection. You select someone who can advance your party ideals within and without Parliament,” he said.

Raila, who is set to lead a NASA delegation to Kakamega today to launch “the mother of all campaigns”, also accused the IEBC of micro-managing political parties, forcing them not to honour their programmes.

“The IEBC micromanaged primaries, forcing us into a schedule that left us with so little time that we could not effectively conduct nominations. If the process had started in January as we had planned, we would not have these problems now,” he said.

Raila maintained that NASA was confident of its 10 million vote march, saying they had done their homework and were convinced they would meet the target.

“The 10 million plus voters is real, we are not just talking,” he said.

His visit to Kisumu comes at a time the party had been rocked by the primaries, resulting in many of the leaders opting to campaign for various seats as independent candidates.

Just like MPs, governors and senators who attended the meeting, Raila made a passionate appeal for a six-piece voting pattern, saying winning the Presidency with a minority in Parliament was not acceptable.

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