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Raila Odinga unveils radical plan to protect ODM in his absence

Raila Odinga

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has established a powerful organ that will sit at the apex of his ODM party leadership with sweeping powers to make final decisions on his behalf.

The Elders Council, whose names are yet to be agreed on, will be incorporated into the ODM constitution in the coming days after receiving approval from the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) last Thursday.

The move is aimed at giving the organ a constitutional mandate to steer the party in the absence of Raila, should he be elected the African Union Commission chairperson next February.

Besides the Elders Council, the NEC also approved a proposal to have the Board of Trustees expanded and entrenched into the ODM Constitution with two additional names endorsed.

Former Busia Senator Amos Wako and ODM Deputy Secretary General Agnes Zani were approved to join the Board of Trustees as part of Raila’s plan to secure the party once he wins the AUC job.

Wako and Zani will join Raila’s brother and Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga, ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire and Director of Administration and Finance Joshua Kawino as the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees is expected to work closely Elders Council to strengthen the governance structure of ODM as a strategy to insulate the outfit from mischievous elements.

Raila’s probable exit to AU has triggered a vicious scramble within ODM as leaders plot how to succeed the former prime minister.

There have been factions with former governors Hassan Joho(Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya(Kakamega) touted as the frontrunners to take over from Raila.

“At a time when the party leader is expected to leave for the AUC job, there is a need to strengthen the ODM structures in a way that instils integrity and accountability and builds on the stability established,” said a senior ODM leader.

Political pundits opine that Raila is aggressively laying ground to secure his party from possible takeover and infiltration by unscrupulous elements that could auction it to his detractors once he exits.

The ODM boss had in 2014 thwarted a scheme by youthful leaders to take over the party allegedly through the backdoor.

The infamous men in black bungled the party’s national elections after they stormed the Kasarani Gymnasium kicked ballot boxes and overturned tables.

The ODM Central Management Committee proposed that the Elders Council sit at the top of the ODM hierarchy to help in addressing contentious issues and solving other forms of conflicts.

The Star understands that the organ will have sweeping powers on recommendations by all other party organs and will be the principal decision maker on political decisions including ODM’s 2027 game plan.

To protect the organ from making or endorsing decisions based on requests of the highest bidders, the superintending organ will mostly comprise Raila’s most trusted loyalists who have stood with him over time, insiders say.

Also to be co-opted into the Elders’ Council are ODM politicians with unquestionable integrity, non-betrayal track record, and senior politicians without political ambitions.

“The wisdom behind the creation of the organ is to ensure that there are checks and balances within all party organs and protect the interests of the party leader in anticipation of his exit to the African Union,’’ a senior NEC member said.

The organ will work closely with the ODM board of trustees to protect the party’s assets and provide policy direction on key party matters in the absence of Raila.

“The Elders Council will be Raila’s dream bearer and will have authority to make binding political decisions on behalf of other party organs from time to time,” the NEC member who sought anonymity said.

The membership of the organ is expected to be set up in the next few days, according to insiders, before Raila embarks on his continental campaigns.

As part of his plan to secure ODM, the NEC last Thursday endorsed the creation of the three-member National Elections Coordinating Committee (NECC) to replace the defunct National Elections Board(NEB).

“The NECC will have devolved roles, which will be executed at the county level by a three-member County Elections Committee,”Zani said when she read the NEC resolutions.

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