The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is in a serious collision course bordering on self-destruction. Three factors have precipitated this collision.
The first is the issue of lack of internal democracy, the second is recalcitrant and uncompromising political rhetoric emanating from the ODM leadership and the third is the Hassan Joho factor.
In itself, the ODM’s lack of internal democracy as an issue is not new; what is new is the tension it has created within the party. In ODM, party nominations have never been transparent and in most cases the party imposes candidates to voters. This could be the reason ODM lost miserably in the recent by-elections. In ODM there is greedy for power. While it is the goal of any political party to seek for the highest office of the land through competitive electoral processes, when there is infighting within the party, nothing good comes out of it.
Moreover, ODM is threatened by the political rhetoric of politicians who have the tendency of bragging about the party’s supremacy and underrating the strength and impact of the other parties.
Also Read: Why does Raila lose the Presidency?
Politics of chest-thumping and reckless political talk within ODM is what is rocking the unity of the party. Leaders close to party leader Raila Odinga feel superior than the other leaders. Supporters from regions where the party has a larger following like Kilifi feel dejected and their leaders alienated.
Then there is the Joho factor, which also threatens to tear ODM asunder. ODM has a massive following in the Coast region but Joho has failed to put Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho is the politician of the moment. Presently, Joho harbors triple political ambitions. At the regional level, he aspires to be Coast political kingpin, a position left vacant when the consummate Coast politician Karisa Maitha died in 2004.
At the national level, Joho is increasingly becoming Raila’s right hand man and perhaps wants to succeed him as ODM party leader. Thirdly, the Mombasa Governor wants to vie for the presidency in 2022.
At the coast, Joho has been referred as a ‘bully’ who does not want anyone within the party to rise above him. Leaders especially those classified as ‘Tanga tanga’ MPs led by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa have led a scathing attack on Joho’s style of leadership in the party.
Also Read: I will not apologise, says Aisha Jumwa
ODM still commands enormous support from across the country.
Secondly, ODM must stop politics of underestimating the strengths and impact of other parties, No matter how popular ODM is.
Thirdly, as a youthful politician, Joho is rightly working his way towards fulfilling the three tripe goals mentioned above–to be the Coast political supremo, to succeed Raila as national ODM party leader, and run for the presidency in 2022.
As of now, Joho’s major challenge as he works towards achieving these triple goals is to unify coastal communities for a bloc vote. Politics is local.