In Summary
  • Electoral competitions should trigger debates about renewal and change, adaptability and preparedness, and ideas and leadership at a party's high command.
  • Nasa did not have a unifying strategy for nominating candidates and therefore cannibalised itself. And, ODM was unwilling to conduct free and fair nominations.

Successful political parties own their electoral performances no matter how dismal.

They then carry out postmortems and research for purposes of improving their standing, focus and performance.

From research they also learn the prevailing trends in the country and equip themselves with strategies for the future.

Therefore, electoral competitions, or better still their results, should trigger debates about renewal and change, adaptability and preparedness, and ideas and leadership at a party's high command.

Unfortunately, after the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) lost parliamentary by-elections in Ugenya and Nairobi, spin masters, politicians and top brass even, have gone into overdrive to colour the explanatory narrative.

RAILA ODINGA

They have posited variously that party boss Raila Odinga's absence from the campaign trail cost ODM dearly in Ugenya; that the double defeat has no bearing on ODM's future; that by-elections are no barometer of prevailing political atmospherics; and that ODM and Mr Odinga remain rock solid paragons.

Let them please themselves, but this is for certain: ODM must switch the paradigm to fighting and winning elections on strategy, ideas and on the issues affecting the electorate, and not be dependent on the force of personality of its leader.

Such is a declining asset, and at 74, Mr Odinga has slowed down considerably. He is not the battling campaigner of the 2002 General Election, the 2005 referendum on the draft constitution and the infamous 2007 presidential poll.

If the ODM strategy was to win by addressing the issues the electorate reckon with in their day-to-day lives, they would not have shamelessly and needlessly made the by-elections referenda on Deputy President William Ruto.

NEEDS-BASED

While calling Dr Ruto the great thief serves Mr Odinga's presidential succession agenda, it does not raise the bar of quality of Kenya's politics, stature of ODM as a centre-left outfit and as respecting and appreciating the electors and, especially, the needs of the grassroots.

So, ODM used the campaigns to escalate the political war of attrition against the DP with a view to derailing his presidential ambition.

So, the party labelled its foremost opponents in Nairobi and Ugenya Ruto candidates and its own as Raila men.

That is to say ODM campaigned for candidates, elections, issues and dates unknown to the electorate. Nothing could be more contemptuous of the grassroots.

Nothing could better illustrate ODM's removal from reality and as out of touch with the grassroots.

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