Cord has zoned the country into three broad regions to eliminate internal competition and reverse Jubilee’s tyranny of numbers factor by making a clean sweep of most elective positions in 2017.
According to a strategy document seen by the Star, the Opposition has divided the country into Strongholds, Battlegrounds and Red Zones to guide the coalition’s joint nominations. Opposition think tanks believe the strategy would also bolster Cord’s presidential flag-bearer’s bid to unseat President Uhuru Kenyatta – by eliminating the nomination fallouts that punctured Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in 2013.
According to the plan, the Cord affiliate parties – ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya – would only fight it out in the primaries in the “battlegrounds” and the “red zones” to come up with the coalition’s candidates. Battlegrounds are areas where the three parties are believed to have a shared popularity, such as Northeastern and Nairobi. However, the red zones are perceived Jubilee turf, especially in Central and the Rift Valley.
“The plan is to eliminate internal confrontation. In areas where an affiliate party enjoys absolute popularity, the other parties will not field their candidates,” a Cord insider told the Star.
In 2013, Cord affiliate parties engaged in bruising political contests across the country and this is blamed for division in the last elections. The strategy paper also makes it clear that Cord will be modeled like the National Rainbow Coalition of 2002, ruling out the possibility of a merger. Yesterday, Raila held a marathon meeting with his Secretary General Ababu Namwamba and agreed to step up ODM activities and presence in Western, Nyanza and at the Coast.
“To this effect, it was agreed that a retreat for ODM Parliamentary Group and the National Executive Council be arranged for early August and thereafter another one for the whole of Cord,” said a statement from Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango. “The Party Leader also instructed his Secretary General to take full charge of Orange House [ODM HQ] and lead the party to battlefields in readiness for 2017,” Onyango said.
The strategy lists Western, Nyanza and Coast as strongholds of Raila’s ODM. However, all the three counties in Ukambani are considered Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper turf. “What is still under deliberation is Western, where both ODM and Ford Kenya claim popularity,” another source disclosed.
During a Western Kenya ODM strategy meeting, lawmakers told Raila that they want all their constituencies considered as the Orange Party’s support bases. According to the game plan, nominations will be conducted in battlegrounds six months to the general election. However, primaries in the strongholds are expected three months to the polls. It is only in Jubilee strongholds that Cord hope to conduct their nominations one month to the election.
“We are not worried about our candidates decamping to another party. The structures we are putting in place will ensure that only the best win.
For example, in every region, there will be a county tribunal to listen to disputes. Certificates will be issued after 48 hours, but only if no dispute is filed,” the source added. But before nominations, all candidates interested in flying Cord’s flag in any elective position will have to face a candidate-vetting committee. The vetting committee will, among other things, ensure that the candidate has been committed to the coalition and is willing to propagate its ideology.