ODM organises retreat to chart out referendum path
- Top on the agenda at the moment is for the party to speak in one voice on the nine issues being handled by the Building Bridges Initiative team.
- Mr Odinga wants the country to be divided into 14 regional blocs, a lasting solution to the problem of economic viability.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) top organ will be retreating to Lake Elementaita Lodge in Nakuru County next week to seek a common stand on the referendum question, among other issues.
The retreat will be preceded by another meeting bringing together all the 47 ODM branch chairmen across the country to be held in Nairobi on Thursday (today).
The retreat to be held on June 20 has been organised against the backdrop of clashing positions advanced by members on a possible new system of governance, particularly the devolution structure.
Although ODM MPs have been vocal on the referendum debate, it has emerged that the party is yet to articulate an official position on reforms touching on the system of governance to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Out of the 78 registered political parties in Kenya, only six have presented their views to the BBI.
Top on the agenda at the moment is for the party to speak in one voice on the nine issues being handled by the BBI.
Today’s meeting, to be chaired by Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, is meant to streamline members’ views.
Although party members are in agreement that the country should adopt a parliamentary system, there have been divergent views on counties.
While Mr Odinga and Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga, among others, have supported a three-tier system arguing that counties are not economically viable, Kisumu Governor Mr Anyang’ Nyong’o feels counties should remain as they are.
Mr Odinga wants the country to be divided into 14 regional blocs, retaining the current county setup but clustering them in regional governments.
He says this will offer a lasting solution to the problem of economic viability.
Prof Nyong’o said: "The regional blocs are already undertaking the role that is currently being proposed in the three-tier system where counties are grouped to ensure they have a higher bargaining power economically."
According to Mr Sifuna, at this point every member is allowed to give his views, including the party leader whose views are treated like any other member and are subject to debate.
“During the NEC meeting in Elementaita, a solid report on the nine issues of the BBI will be presented for adoption before the final one is taken to the BBI team,” Mr Sifuna told Nation on Wednesday.
ODM women leaders from across the country will also meet next week to present what they feel should form part of the final report to be delivered to the BBI before the team winds up its work in October.