CAMPAIGN

Dismissing the by-elections and ODM's double defeat as inconsequential, as have party stalwarts, is as absurdist as it is escapist.

The ODM competed because the polls were important and because it wanted to win. But the electorate flipped the bird in its face.

No surprises here: In the 2017 General Election the Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa) complained more about the polls umpire than it campaigned to win the General Election.

Nasa was created to win executive power and not the General Election. It thus separated the presidential campaign from the parliamentary, gubernatorial and county legislature races, yet these prop and energise the drive for the top job.

Worse, Nasa did not have a unifying strategy for nominating candidates and therefore cannibalised itself. And, ODM was, for the umpteenth time, unwilling to conduct free and fair nominations.

Unfortunately, ODM’s electoral fortunes have been dwindling. In 2013 the party won 97 parliamentary seats but the number fell to 62 in 2017.

TASK FORCE

The ODM won 15 gubernatorial and 11 senatorial seats in 2013 but managed to bag 13 governorships in 2017 and increase the senatorial tally by two.

It bears repeating that ODM was comprehensively beaten in the 2017 General Election. It is why in February 2018 Mr Odinga announced formation of a task to inquire into the performance.

Sadly, nothing has been heard of the inquiry since, yet it was the right strategy for steadying a listing ship .

Indeed, ODM would have benefited from the task force's work and not blundered the way it did in the just-concluded by-elections.

NEW PARADIGM

This is not to say ODM has been inactive. No, it has outdone itself in attacking Nasa partners Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress and expelling a Coast-based supporter of Dr Ruto.

It has been fiercest in intervening in, and tearing into Dr Ruto, in Kenya's most primitively manufactured and most sordidly executed public fight ever between President and Deputy.

However, ODM, while effectively executing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dirty work on the DP, must renew itself with strategies for winning in 2022. But first it must own its recent by-election defeats.

kwendo58@gmail.com

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