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Kenya’s Past as Prologue

Christian Thibon
Marie-Aude Fouéré
Mildred Ndeda
et al.

New Constitution, Odingaism and the State of Internal Democracy in Orange Democratic Movement and its Effects on the 2013 Elections in Kenya

George Odhiambo Okoth et Gordon Onyango Omenya

Texte intégral

Introduction: Historical development of parties and party systems

1Parties that exist in political societies today may be authoritarian or democratic; they may seek power through elections or through revolutions; and they may espouse ideologies of left, right or centre, or indeed, disavow political ideas altogether. However, what is important is that the development of political parties and the acquisition of a party system have been recognized as a mark of political modernization in the contemporary world (Heywood, 2002). Since their formation, political parties have served as training ground for politicians, equipping them with skills, knowledge and experience, and offering them some form of career structure, albeit one that depends on fortunes of the party. Political parties have also been the means through which societies set collective goals and in some cases ensure that they are carried out. Parties play this role because in the process of seeking power, they formulate programmes of government through conferences, election manifestos and conventions.

2According to Castles (1986), apart from these attributes, criticism of political parties is certainly not new. This author was fiercely critical of parties and factions, believing that they would promote conflict and destroy the underlying unity of society. He was also concerned that, as collective bodies, parties necessarily suppress freedom of thought and the politics of individual conscience. Modern concern about politics, however, stems from evidence of their decline as agents of representation and as an effective link between government and the people. Evidence of the contemporary crisis of party politics can be found in a decline of both party membership and partisanship as well as in the rise of antiparty groups and movements (Sartori, 2005). This can be explained by the perception that parties are tainted by power, ambition and corruption, and that they have suffered as a result of general disillusionment caused by the growing inability of governments to deliver on their promises. They are also seen to have failed to articulate the aspirations and sensibilities associated with post materialism or generated by postmodernism (Heywood, 2002)

3Party democracy is therefore a process that has grown over time and refers to a form of popular rule that operates through the agency of party as democratic institution (Mair, 1990). There are two views about how this can be achieved. In the first case, party democracy can be realized through institutionalization of principles of intra-party democracy. This process sees political parties as democratic agents that disperse power within them and evenly. This implies, for instance, that there should be broad participation in the election of leaders and a prominent role for conferences and conventions in policy formulation (Randal, 2002). In the second model, democracy dictates that policy-making power should be concentrated in the hands of party members who are elected and therefore publicly accountable (Kartz, 1994). However, some argue that if this process is not checked, a wide and even dispersal of power within the party may lead to the tyranny of non-elected constituency activists.

  • 1 In order to provide a substantial reflection on the status of intra-party democracy in the party, t (...)
  • 2 The study was carried in Kisumu and Siaya Counties of Kenya’s Nyanza Province. Non-probability samp (...)

4Looking at Kenya’s political parties, Elischer (2008) argues that Kenyan political society had been consistently divided along ethnic lines. At least at the aggregate level of political parties, two of the country’s dominant ethnic cleavage lines are the divisions between Luo and Kikuyu and between Kalenjin and Kikuyu. With Kenya’s independence, the ruling party KANU emerged victorious with the idea of having a unitary and centralized system of government, which also embraced capitalism both as an economic and political ideology. The political elites were to govern Kenya with this ideology up to 1966 when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga came up with his socialist idea, which led to his breakaway from the postcolonial Kenyatta government. Although this split was ideological, it was also viewed as ethnically driven. The paper uses the dynamics of political developments in the early post independent Kenya to analyse how and whether ODM as a political party has managed to nurture its democratic ideals in the run up to the 2013 General elections.1 It gives a brief background of party politics and the driving force behind the formation of various parties within the Kenyan political arena. The paper also interrogates the ideological and philosophical leanings of Raila Odinga and assesses whether his ideological leanings had any influence in the senatorial, gubernatorial and parliamentary elections within ODM as a party especially in Nyanza Province.2

The origin and development of ODM

5Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the leading political party in Kenya, and a successor of a former grassroots people’s movement bringing together different parties to oppose the 2005 Kenyan Constitutional Referendum. The name ORANGE originates from the ballot cards in the referendum, in which a ‘Yes’ vote was represented by a banana and a ‘No’ vote by an orange. Thus the parties claim successorship to those who did not support the referendum at the time (Nyanchoga et al, 2008).

6In the Constitutional Referendum of 2005 the ‘No’ vote which ODM campaigned for won out with 58.12% of Kenyans voting down the proposed constitution, granting victory to the Orange team. Following the rejection of the constitution, President Kibaki dismissed the entire cabinet. ODM responded by calling for immediate general elections, claiming that the Kibaki regime had lost its mandate as a result of the referendum. Kibaki’s government resisted this. ODM then emerged as a major opposition party along with KANU, and even organized a number of rallies throughout the country asking for elections and a new constitution amongst other demands (Nyanchoga et al, 2008: 56)

7As the General Elections of 2007 progressed, Uhuru Kenyatta of KANU pulled out of the ODM coalition in July 2007 and went ahead to endorse President Kibaki’s re-election. This was soon followed by a split of the party into two factions in mid-August 2007, the Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya (ODM), and the Orange Democratic Movement Kenya (ODM Kenya), as a result of internal rivalry with Kalonzo Musyoka. Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Joseph Nyagah and Najib Balala defected and took over the ODM party (Keverenge, 2007). ODM held their elections for presidential candidate on consecutive days at the Kasarani sports complex in Nairobi. On September 1st, 2007, Raila Odinga defeated Ruto, Mudavadi, Balala and Nyagah for the ODM mantle. He then faced president Kibaki in the 2007 general election representing ODM. Kibaki was declared winner of the elections in circumstances that were described as “highly questionable” by various observers both local and international ones. This declaration triggered widespread violence as scores of people protested against the Electoral Commission’s to hurriedly swearing-in of Kibaki as the President late in the evening at the Nairobi state house. ODM won 99 out of the 210 seats in Parliament and together with its affiliates, the party constituted about 110 Members of Parliament therefore becoming the party with the majority members in the House.

Death and by-elections

8Soon after the swearing in of the members of the 10th Parliament, the party received a setback when it lost two Members of Parliament in a span of one week through brutal attacks. Mellitus Mugabe Were, the Embakasi MP was shot at close range outside his home in Nairobi while David Arap Too (MP for Ainamoi) was shot dead by a police officer in Eldoret town. ODM managed to recapture the Ainamoi seat which was won by Mr. Too’s brother Benjamin Lang’at. The party however lost the Embakasi seat to Ferdinand Waititu of PNU. Unfortunately, as the party was campaigning in Ainamoi, it lost two of its very influential members in a plane crash, the Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones (Bomet) and Home Affairs Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso (Sotik). The two were the main campaigners for the ODM candidate in Ainamoi.

9The party’s strength was later displayed when it recaptured both seats left vacant by the demise of Hon. Kones and Hon. Laboso through Mr. Kones widow, Beatrice Kones and Dr. Joyce Laboso, a sister to Lorna Laboso. In May 2009, ODM lost Shinyalu MP Charles Lirechi Lugano who succumbed to illness. The seat was recaptured through Justus Kizito Mugali. The party won the Bomachoge Parliamentary seat through Simeon Ogari which was previously held by FORD-People’s Joel Onyancha, a PNU affiliate. ODM continued to perform well in consequent by-elections. Following the passing of the political parties act, ODM held its internal elections in late December 2008 with Prime Minister Raila Odinga emerging as the party leader, and Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey as party chairman. The elections made sure regional and gender representation was taken into account and addressed.

10Regardless of these internal and external challenges, ODM was formed on the platform of championing for democratic reforms and accountability in political administration. It was committed to reforming the state by instituting nationhood through collective participation of citizens in governance. These ideals have been clearly defined by its mission statement and vision in the 2013 party constitution which stated its commitment ‘to win and maintain power through democratic means and to use such power to ensure economic and political empowerment of all Kenyans’. The party’s vision also envisages a ‘united and prosperous modern Kenya founded on popular democracy and social justice’. Contrary to these principles, before the 2013 elections, the party was afflicted by internal challenges in the dispensation of democratic ideals. Part of the specific challenges faced included non-inclusive candidate selection procedures and poor conflict management mechanisms.

11Some have argued that the party has been run as a personal kingdom and is devoid of anything that is akin to a membership-based organization. Advocates of internal party democracy within the party have been alienated and pronounced ‘enemies within’ the party. Critics of the party have also argued that before the 2013 elections, the party systematically abused her institutional statutes and became a pillar of authoritarian rule, building her support through clientelism and patronage.

Ideology or ethnicity: Which way for Raila?

12Erikson & Tedin (2003) defines ideology as a “set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved”. Specific ideologies crystallize and communicate the widely (but not unanimously) shared beliefs, opinions, and values of an identifiable group, class, constituency, or society (Freeden, 2001; Knight, 2006). Ideologies also endeavor to describe or interpret the world as it is – by making assertions or assumptions about the human nature, historical events, present realities, and future possibilities and to envision the world as it should be, specifying acceptable means of attaining social, economic, and political ideals. Different ideologies represent socially shared but competing philosophies of life and how it should be lived (and how society should be governed).

13Philosophers and social scientists have, however, long disagreed about whether to embrace a critical, even judgmental tone in describing and analyzing ideologies or, alternatively, to adopt a more value-neutral posture (Jost et al., 2008b; Knight, 2006). The former, more critical tradition descends from the writings of Marx & Engels (1846/1970), who regarded ideology (in contrast to science) as a potentially dangerous form of illusion and mystification that typically serves to conceal and maintain exploitative social relations. Along these lines, (Mannheim, 1936: 55) depicted certain ideologies as “more or less conscious disguises of the real nature of a situation”. Habermas (1989), too, treated ideology as a form of “systematically distorted communication”, and this characterization remains common in certain circles of social theorists.

14But also, an ideology is a more or less coherent set of ideas that provides the basis for organized political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power. It is against this background that Raila’s beliefs and philosophy on a democratic rule and social justice leading to a fair and equitable representation and leadership is examined. The history of political parties and their ideologies can be traced to the immediate post-independent Kenyan government.

15Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963 and became a republic in the following year. President Jomo Kenyatta, who was the head of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), became Kenya’s first president. A small but significant leftist opposition party formed in 1966, the Kenya People’s Union (KPU), was led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former vice president and Luo elder. There followed three years of political harassment and detention of party leaders. The KPU was banned and its leader detained after political unrest related to Kenyatta’s visit to Nyanza Province when he went to open the New Nyanza General Hospital on 25 October 1969. No new opposition parties were formed after 1969, and KANU became the sole political party. President Kenyatta was not excited about the hospital, since it was built with Soviet money and seen as Odinga’s project. This was the genesis of ideological wars between Kenyatta of KANU and Odinga of KPU seen as a conduit for socialist ideologies in Kenya. Moi’s regime also flourished on a one party system after Kenyatta’s death in 1978. Moi’s regime became more authoritative and dictatorial and did not allow any liberal opinion to be aired. During his reign, a number of politicians were detained without trial for opposing his rule while a number of them went into exile in different countries. Under this kind of environment social justice and democracy as an ideology could not prevail (see Ogot, 2006; Cohen, 2004).

16Party competition was legalized in Kenya in the late December 1991 after several decades of one party rule under the Kenya African National Union (KANU). Immediately afterwards, the opposition formed the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), whose leadership set up incorporated representatives of all major communities. A few months into its formation, the FORD split into FORD-Asili and the FORD-Kenya as its two main leaders, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (Luo) and Kenneth Matiba (Kikuyu) failed to overcome their respective ambitions to become the FORD’s presidential candidate. Subsequently both the FORD-Asili and FORD-Kenya rapidly developed into parties representing Kikuyu (FORD-Asili) and Luo/Luhya (FORD-Kenya) interests, which were evident in terms of their leadership, set up as well as their electoral support (Throup and Hornsby, 1998).

17The FORD-Kenya further disintegrated as its Luo and Luhya wing fought viciously over its leadership. The Luo wing under the leadership of Raila Odinga eventually defected to form the National Development Party (NDP) whose support was confined to the Luo dominated areas of Nyanza Province. Simultaneously the FORD-Kenya declined to a party whose outreach was reduced to Luhya leader and followers.

18In addition to FORD, the Democratic Party (DP) emerged also in the late 1991 as a breakaway faction from KANU under the leadership of Mwai Kibaki and John Keen. At its formation the DP included Kikuyu elites but also smaller communities such as the Kamba, the Meru, or the Maasai. As the Ford and later FORD-Kenya, the DP was equally unable to stay united. Feeling marginalized by the dominance of Kibaki’s personality and his wealthy Kikuyu entourage, John Keen from the Maasai as well as Charity Ngilu and Agnes Ndetei from the Kamba left the party, while Keen and Ndetei defected back to KANU, Charity Ngilu took over the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which had hitherto been unknown to the wider Kenya populace and transformed it into a party which openly advocated Kamba interest. Thus due to their ethnic factionalism and ethnic rivalry, the Kenyan democratic opposition had reached a situation of almost complete fragmentation into several (mono) ethnic parties by early 1998 (Elischer, 2008).

19On the governing benches, at the time, the KANU showed ethnic bias in favour of the Kalenjin community of president Moi as well as in favour of the many smaller communities such as the Maasai, the Turkana and the Samburu (Elischer, 2008).

20In 1997 NDP was formed and thereafter in 1998 merged with KANU. The NDP highlighted that the New KANU represented first and foremost a unique opportunity for the Luo people to regain power. Later on Raila fell out with KANU and Moi. A significant number of the New KANU leaders under the leadership of Raila Odinga decided to break away from the KANU over the issue of a Kikuyu presidential candidate and defected to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP then merged with National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) in order to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). The NARC proved to be the first and so far only nationwide alliance, which managed to include all of Kenya’s major ethnic groups without falling apart before Election Day (Ndegwa, 2003).

21However, as early as two weeks in Kibaki’s presidency, initial tensions became visible between the different ethnic wings which made up the NARC (Kadima and Owuor, 2006). The NARC Kikuyu MPs for example voted for fellow Kikuyu opposition parties when it came to the selection of prestigious chairmanship position of Parliamentary Committees. Kibaki himself appointed several ministers closely associated with Kenyatta’s former hawkish Kikuyu elite including Njenga Karume and John Michuki. The deteriorating relationship between them and the rest of the NARC came to a final end over Kibaki’s refusal to initiate constitutional reforms, which would have seen the creation of strong executive Prime Minister.

22In the eventual referendum that was held in 2005 in which the executive powers of the president were strengthened in the infamous (Amos) Wako Draft (constitution), Raila Odinga’s led group voted ‘No’ against the government proposed constitution which was viewed as an embarrassment to the Kibaki government. Kibaki followed swiftly by sacking all the cabinet ministers who campaigned against the proposed constitution. Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka were the main losers in this sacking. This in turn led to the formation of the Orange Democratic Movement led by Odinga and eventually the Party of National Unity led by Kibaki (Elischer, 2008). Although the split had a clear ethnic dimension, it brought to the fore some ideological and philosophical standpoint of Raila Odinga.

23Raila’s philosophy has been anchored on his desire to see a democratic Kenyan society free from authoritarian and dictatorial rule. He believes in constitutionalism and a devolved system of government where resources are enjoyed by the people and not by individuals. His ideas on social justices also envisages a free Kenya where people are at liberty to enjoy their freedoms of speech, assembly, press and the ability to chose a leader of their choice. Babafemi (2006) argues that the indignity of seeing his father detained without trial and his KPU opposition party banned, and the oppressive nature of the past regimes shaped Raila’s decision to go into politics and to fight to rectify the wrongs he felt his family, Kenyans and those who fought for democratic freedoms suffered. His struggles, beliefs and ideology have therefore always revolved around liberating the oppressed from repressive regimes so that they can enjoy their civil and political rights. All these freedoms, Raila believed, could only be achieved through reforming and reviewing the Kenya’s constitution.

Odingaism ideology and the 2013 elections

24The people of Kenya ushered in a new Constitution in the year 2010 which changed the country’s constitutional order. The major change was that the country moved from a parliamentary system of governance to a presidential system of governance. It was believed that the impact of the Constitution would be felt during the electioneering period of 2013. In this new constitutional dispensation, new elective positions were created. These positions included the post for the senator, governor, county representative and women representative. Unlike, the old constitutional order, the new constitutional dispensation barred presidential candidates and their deputies from seeking any parliamentary seat. This, in essence meant that in case a presidential candidate fails to clinch the presidency then he/she had to be ‘out’ of politics for the next five years. In this context, therefore, the fundamental question would be whether the new Constitution would undermine the presidential ambitions of Raila Odinga leading to the collapse of Odingaism or whether it would sustain Odingaism with Raila becoming the president. But what is Odingaism as an ideology? To answer this question, we need to trace the family and political background of Raila Odinga within the concept of the role and the position of his father within the members of his Luo community.

25In defining Odingaism, it is important to highlight some historical facts about the philosophical ideas surrounding it. Murunga (2003: 47) observes that the obsession with the Odinga family is cultural. Indeed, among the Luo, the Ker (teacher) was the ultimate moral or spiritual leader. This leader was also a japaro (thinker) who had been elevated to the status of Ramogi (the Moses of the Luo). The name ‘Jaramogi’ means the disciple of Ramogi; it was the name given to Oginga Odinga, Raila’s father, not by himself but by the consensus of the community in 1954. This fact alone underlined and continues to legitimate his leadership of the Luo. As Oruka explained,

… From time to time in history a person of great moral insight and courage comes to the scene and by communal consensus assumes the role of Ker. Once one is declared a Ker it is considered to attract a curse if anybody is at war with him or her. AKer is hardly ever formally elected. There can be a hierarchy of Ker and there are generally persons who play the role of Ker in their particular clans or districts. But usually there is the ultimate Ker who is seen as the torchbearer of Ramogi, the dominant ancestor of the Luo. Odinga as Jaramogi has played this role since the early 1950s (Oruka, 1992: 28).

26Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was installed as Ker in 1954. This installation explains why the Luo have considered Odinga worth their support. The excellent leadership of Odinga in business and politics and his figure as the leading Luo politician all provide reasons why the Luo installed faith in him. It should be remembered that Raila Odinga was not just Oginga Odinga’s favored son; he was also active alongside his father in the politics of dissent against the oppressive and authoritarian regimes of both Kenyatta and Moi. For this, he unofficially took over the leadership of the Luo after the death of his father, though not in the status of Ker this time. This dissent against political oppression and authoritarianism informed Raila’s ideology and philosophy of social justice, liberalism and political freedom of the masses anchored in the ideology of social democracy.

27Odingaism is used to refer to the unrelenting faith and belief that the Luo and other non-Luo have in Oginga Odinga and his son Raila. Odingaism is unlike any other ideologies in Kenyan politics because it rotates around a personality whose stature in his society and beyond gives him the unreserved trust of the followers. Similarly, Odingaism is unlike any ideology in Kenya because the cultural logic of its origin has fused with his personality to produce a form of authority hardly possessed by many other leaders in Kenya, including Kenyatta and Moi. What distinguishes Odingaism from others is that it is grounded on real authority; it is not crafted around a hawkish evocation of a carefully orchestrated personality cult (Schatzberg, 2001: 23). Such personality cults are what both Kenyatta and Moi tried to build but Odingaism is of a different nature. Its legacy has a long-standing basis that even with the death of Jaramogi Odinga, his successor Raila Odinga has been able to continue to marshal and get unreserved ethnic and non-ethnic Luo followers (see Murunga, 2003: 51). The idea of Odingaism illustrates the sense in which ethnic men of power, or boss men, control popular voice and community decisions. The effect of this works well if the boss man is tolerant and is able to direct the energies of his following to constructive end like Odinga did for the Luo Thrift and Trading Corporation (LUTATCO). LUTATCO was based on Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s economic ideology for the economic empowerment of Africans against the capitalist colonial settlers (Atieno-Odhimabo, 1976; Odinga, 1967).

28Thriving on Odingaism, Raila Odinga has been able to consolidate the Luo and non-Luo ethnic support base to his advantage. He has been able to mutate from the principles, philosophy and ideologies of his father who operated along the lines of socialism. Raila has embraced social democracy both as a political philosophy and ideology. Guided by the values and principles of social democracy and the humanness of the African traditional societies, Raila has been particularly concerned about the oppressed, the poor, inequity in the distribution of public resources and the voiceless majority. His unrelenting fight for social justice for all and participatory democracy earned him three detentions without trial during the 24 years of Moi’s rule. This handed the Odinga family lots of sympathy from Kenyans who believed in change and reform. Mr. Odinga was seen as the one who would spearhead the necessary reforms within the country. Proponents of social democracy never rejected liberal values and recognized their importance for workers. However, they formerly declared that political freedom was a precondition of the social freedom and the political rights alone were not enough for the social emancipation, and therefore, the political freedom had to be extended to the social issues. Freedom creates opportunities but without social rights, the political freedom can never be universal. Hence, taking it as a single system of principles “freedom-social justice-solidarity became an axiom of the social democracy” (Acharya, 2003). Raila believes in these ideologies, however, within the African context these ideologies sometimes become too difficult to achieve because of the ethnicised nature of politics. However, he used his philosophy based on the ideology of social democracy to increase the democratic space within Kenya’s political arena which has ensured freedom of speech, association, assembly, equality and the rule of law. This has been realized by putting the existing governments in constant check and accountable to the people of Kenya. Odingaism, therefore, is a special brand of ‘political-isms’ that refers both to the exceptional hold which the Odinga’s, and especially Raila, have over the Luo. To his followers, Raila epitomizes a symbol of political freedom and a liberator that Kenyan masses have been hitherto denied in the past successive authoritarian political regimes (De Smedt, 2009). It is this ideology that Raila has tried to inculcate and nurture in his ODM party. This paper also examines if these ideologies drive the ODM party operations and politics.

Knowledge of the contents of intra-party democracy

29Our informants’ understanding of intra-party democracy (IPD) was not well developed or explained. This was attributed to the lack of basic education by the party on issues of governance as service to party members. However, there was general understanding of the role of political parties in linking ordinary citizens to government. There was also good knowledge of political parties as organizations that contest elections and engage in other public activities designed to influence policies in government. Political parties were also viewed as elite-owned instruments for seeking and maintaining political power with formal machinery or structures found at all levels of political activity-national, regional, district, constituency, ward, all the way down to the grassroots.

30For the case of ODM, IPD was explained through four critical elements. In the first case, IPD was a process of popular participation and consultation at all levels on party matters as well as freedom of expression to criticize party leadership. The second most important aspect noted was that IPD reflects on adherence to the party constitution. Thirdly, informants felt that a party is internally democratic if its members are able to influence vital party decisions. And fourthly, most respondents identified issues of transparency and accountability and regular free and fair elections in party nominations as the main indicators of internal party democracy. However in regard to the ratings of the various interpretations of IPD, popular participation and consultation at all party levels and on all matters, and freedom of expression to criticize party leadership were identified as the major indicators that should define internal democracy in ODM.

31In regard to this understanding of IPD, most party officials interviewed observed that the party performed poorly in terms of adherence to the basic tenets of democracy because decision making in the party was not based on a deliberative and participatory process among party members seen as equals. The decisions were also not guided by party constitutional procedures and regulations while the party leader lost control of the decision making process in the party once he became Prime Minister and delegated it to elites. In reference to the Iron Law of Oligarchy formulated by Michels (1962) it was suggested that the party favored domination by a few (elites) in which case the participatory or democratic structures were unable to check the manipulation of elites but only disguise them. Within the framework of Michels’ ideas, elite groups in ODM like in any party were acknowledged for their specialisation, expertise and better organisational skills. However compared to the ordinary members of the party they dominated the rank and file of the party while the party members remain disposed to accept subordination and venerate them. According to a former Member of Parliament and close ally of Raila Odinga, Hon. Gor Sungu, “Raila became a different man, meeting him became a nightmare for many of his close friends”. This suggests that the party leader killed the process of consultation or was selective in his associations, often ignoring those with whom he may have developed weak or poor relations.

32Denis Kodhe also observed in The Standard newspaper that the party leader was burdened by the task of administration as the Prime Minister as well as the challenges of striking a power balance in the coalition arrangement which was linked with policy inconsistencies. He was therefore not fully in charge of the party: “Raila seemed to have lost his knack and surrounded himself with handlers and advisors who cared less about the future than their personal development”. Kodhe states that:

The rain started beating Odinga and ODM party immediately after he became the Prime Minister in the Kofi Annan negotiated Grand Coalition government in 2008. From there on, the situation has been downhill all the way, until sometime last year (2012) when most members of his ‘Pentagon’ team deserted him to join or form other political outfits (The Standard, March 15, 2013).

33The deliberative and participatory processes hitherto nurtured through the representative symbol and organ of the party (pentagon) was systematically relegated together with Raila’s compatriots in the struggle. The able critics in the party like Hon William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi and Najib Balala who contributed in sustaining internal competitive democracy were also replaced with individuals who could not sell their agenda in their respective constituencies or counties, let alone campaign for his election as president.

34Some of the close allies and advisers who are said to have been allowed to influence party policies included personalities like Medical Services minister and secretary general of the party Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o. Together with many others, this team served to isolate some of the lieutenants in the Pentagon, forcing them to abandon ship. Lawyer and author Miguna Miguna, Raila’s legal and constitutional advisor, was one such casualty who was sacked for writing an opinion questioning the integrity and capability of Isaack Hassan, the IEBC chairman.

Candidate selection processes

35Other reasons given to indicate that the party was not democratic include the imposition of parliamentary candidates on the electorate, even though the party held some kind of primary elections in February 2013. Yet, the nomination dates were pushed close to the Interim Elections and Boundary Commissions deadline (IEBC) in order to control defections. According to IEBC calendar, the parties were supposed to do their nomination between 4 January 2013 and 17 January 2013,and to submit the final list of names on 18 January 2013. Most of the parties chose to have the nominations on the last day, i.e. 17 January 2013 in order to prevent losers from defecting and contesting in other parties.

36The ODM nominations were administered by an ODM National Election Board (NEB) which was however undergoing a hurried reformation after Odinga, on 19 September 2012, took steps to bolster the democratic credentials of the board which was previously perceived as weak and partial. This was in response to heated criticism of the ODM’s contested nomination of Augustino Neto for MP for Ndhiwa. By overhauling the membership of the NEB and insisting that: “Our nomination process for various electoral positions in the coming general election must be flawless”, Raila sought to give aspirants across the country faith that they will have a fair opportunity to win the ODM ticket if they join or remain in the party. However, this seemed to have been primarily motivated by the desire to avoid defections to other parties and, to a lesser degree, the need to make absolutely certain that there was no risk of a party split in the run-up to the presidential campaign.

37This re-emphasis on internal democracy was confirmed by the new NEB, which issued the following statement:

The Board is currently reviewing the roadmap for holding fair, transparent and democratic elections and nominations. The Board affirms that the nomination process will be fully transparent, inclusive and participatory. Every ODM member who wishes to run for any post will have the freedom to stand and every voter will have the right to vote for the candidate he/she wishes to nominate and elect. Finally, NEB assures candidates that there shall be no direct nominations. The playing ground will be even and non-compromised (The Standard, Tuesday, September 25, 2012).

38Contrary to the spirit of this statement by the National Elections Board, on 17 January 2013 ODM primaries failed to take off in nearly all the constituencies save for Karachuonyo, Rarieda, Nyakach, Kasipul Kabondo and Suna East; and plans to hold repeat polls the following day also suffered serious logistical challenges before collapsing. But even in the five constituencies where elections were held, only former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo secured the party’s ticket to run in the 4 March 2013 General Election. Analysts have argued that the anger by the party supporters degenerated into a protest vote against ODM nominees in favor of its partners in CORD as well as possible withdrawal from voting Raila as their preferred president.

39Earlier on, on 5 January 2013, CORD affiliate parties through a Joint Election Board announced that it would conduct joint nomination exercise for all elective posts in the coming general election. Besides setting up a joint Election Board, CORD also formed an Appeals Board to deal with disputes arising from the nomination which were expected to be highly contested and potentially divisive. In effect, according to this arrangement, the candidates from ODM, Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM), FORD-Kenya, CCU, KADU-Asili, Kenya Social Congress, TIP, Mkenya Solidarity Movement, United Democratic Movement and Peoples Democratic Party would have to work extra hard to secure the coalitions ticket for the March 2013 elections. Nomination for Governor, Senator, Member of Parliament, Women Representative and Member of the County Assembly (Ward Representatives) would be by universal suffrage through secret ballot on 17 January 2013 (The Standard, January 6, 2013). However, on 8 January 2013, Raila Odinga announced that CORD had shelved the joint nomination strategy and adopted a new plan that blends party primaries in some regions with what it called ‘negotiated democracy’ in other areas. According to the alliance leaders, the team embraced a blend of measures that included allowing parties to nominate candidates to compete in its stronghold areas, hold joint nominations in cosmopolitan areas and give room for negotiated democracy in swing vote areas (The Standard, January 9, 2013). But, this plan was not to be as each party went ahead and conducted its own nominations. This came about as a result of the small parties within the coalition citing domination by the bigger parties in the coalition.

40Flaws in the ODM party primaries started to be evident when ODM aspirants in Migori raised the red flag after the ODM party decided to reserve the Migori senatorial seat for the Kuria community during the ‘Isebania Declaration’ which gave the position of the senate to the Kuria people, a minority in the Migori County dominated by members from the Luo community. In this declaration attended by Raila Odinga, the seat was preserved for the former Kuria MP Wilfred Machage, thereby violating the party nomination rules and guidelines of free and fair nominations devoid of direct nomination. This did not auger well for other party aspirants for the same senatorial position from Migori who had already invested and paid over KShs. 250,000 as nomination fee to the party for the senatorial seat (The Standard, December 5, 2012).

41Stakes were higher in some areas like Karachuonyo where former MP James Rege was declared winner by the returning officer after beating his main challenger Adipo Akuome with a 3,000 margin but the party offered its nomination ticket to Mr. Donny Opar who had trailed the front runner from the tail end. Mr. Rege is quoted as saying:

I am shocked that my name is missing from the list published in the IEBC website. I won in broad daylight. I am surprised that fraud of this magnitude is being meted out on me,” complained Mr. Rege (Sunday Nation, January 27, 2013).

42His main challenger, Mr. Akuome, moved to Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s party, Wiper, to face off with Mr. Opar in Karachuonyo constituency. In Nyakach where former MP Polynce Ochieng lost the fight for the party ticket, ODM nominated Nairobi businessman Aduma Awuor, forcing Mr. Ochieng to flee to Wiper while another candidate, Mr. Erick Ouma, secured Cyrus Jirongo’s Federal Party of Kenya ticket while in Kasipul, Mr. Were Ongondo secured a TIP ticket and notified his supporters of the change. Former Migori MP John Pesa, who won the contest in Suna East, was tongue tied after he learnt that his rival, Mr. Junet Sheik Mohamed, had secured the party ticket following an order from a prominent party official. However, by Friday, Mr. Mohamed’s certificate was yet to be signed. John Pesa complained to the Sunday Nation:

I was declared winner. I was not anticipating these games until Friday when I realized that my name was missing from the IEBC list. I don’t understand who is doing this to me and why I am being fought”, Mr. Pesa told the Sunday Nation.

43Instead of providing reasons for these challenges, Mr. Bett the ODM director of elections blamed local leaders and former MPs for conspiring to disrupt the party’s logistical planning for a proper poll. This again confirms the fact that party institutions were not respected by some leaders or that clear rules and policies regulating the elections process were not in place.

44This was the scenario in Kisumu Town West Constituency and Kisumu Town Central Constituency. In Kisumu Town West, Mr. Olago Aluoch who was defending his parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket had to decamp to Ford Kenya after he was defeated in the bungled party primaries by Rozah Buyu popularly known as Dwasi. However, Mr. Olago Aluoch went against the grain to defeat Rozah Buyu of ODM on a FORD-Kenya ticket to the dismay of the locals in an area which is an ODM stronghold. Generally, the way nominations were carried out ignited violent demonstrations across Nyanza province. The sight of agitated voters chanting anti-Raila slogans amid claims of poll rigging in the Orange primaries in Nyanza was a rare sight. So, too, was that of protestors threatening to decamp to rival Uhuru Kenyatta’s coalition (The Standard, January 27, 2013). It is, therefore, evident that since Raila was more focused on the presidency, he did not want to ‘get involved’ in local nomination process which could have painted him as a tribal chief while he was playing national politics.

45Although Kenya has a sizeable African middle class, ethnic cleavages have more often than not stifled the reformist agenda. Campaigns for office openly appeal to ethnic allegiance. All the major political leaders draw most of their support from their particular ethnic strongholds. Needless to say, this dynamic has diminished the importance of both ideology and social questions as bases on which to distinguish between parties (and their leaders) (Mutua, 2008: 22). Cohen and Kanyinga (2002: 131) observe that the territorial space of tribe is not merely some historical or geographical given within which the political interplay of the local and the national takes place. While particular places have acquired an inherent economic and social meaning, territoriality has increasingly become a source of political power. Strategies, including violence, to politically controlled contested territorial spaces have been an integral part of sustained attempts to maintain political and, thereby, give shape to the identities from which the political content of the local is lately derived.

46According to Nyong’o (The Standard, January 6, 2013), the litmus test for democracy in political parties is not based so much on whether or not they hold primaries but whether they conduct themselves in accordance with rules and regulations formulated by their members, accepted by them and exercised without favor among all members. That is why democratic elections are often defined as struggles over rules of the electoral game before they become struggles over elections themselves. Democracy does not mean that all forms of methods adopted in a competitive election must be the same. All it means is that the competitive process must be open enough to allow for multiple choices that can produce ideas and leadership in the use of state power for democratic and good governance following the elections. Although Nyong’o’s arguments are practical in western democracies, these arguments fall short of expectations within smaller democracies, like Kenya, where election rules and regulations are just followed in paper.

Odingaism in the gubernatorial and senatorial race in Siaya and Kisumu counties

47Other cases of concern that demonstrated abuse of party institutions were reflected in the senatorial and gubernatorial elections. The battle for the Siaya County senate, a county where Raila Odinga emanates from, threatened to divide ODM party right in the middle. The race attracted two stalwarts, former Lands minister and Raila’s key strategist, Mr. James Orengo and Former Finance assistant minister and Raila’s elder brother Dr. Oburu Odinga. The competition between these two ODM members created two factions in the Orange Party, although all of them drummed up support for their party leader, Raila Odinga (The Star, February 1, 2012). In this race, ODM ministers and MPs aligned themselves either on Orengo or Oburu’s side while some chose not to support either. Those who chose to be neutral did so because they did not know the premier’s (Raila’s) position, a sign of not wanting to antagonize the premier thereby rubbing him the wrong way (Otieno, 2013). This is evidence of politicians who are not ideologically grounded but whose survival in politics depends on Odingaism and party leadership. Ministers from Western province and MPs from Nyanza province were sharply divided over whom between the two leaders should run for the seat. Former Planning Minister and the current governor for Kakamega, Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya and his then Local Government counterpart Paul Otuoma allied themselves to Oburu Odinga and Orengo respectively. Oparanya on a campaign trail for Oburu in Gem constituency in November 2012 asked Orengo to shelve his ambition, saying Oburu was the most senior and experienced leader who could be entrusted with Siaya county leadership.

48However, the former cabinet Minister in charge of sports Paul Otuoma, campaigning for Orengo in Alego Usonga (part of Siaya County), argued in favour of Orengo by asserting that Orengo deserved the position because of his legal background to help Raila Odinga implement the new constitution. MPs Fred Outa (Nyando) and Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) also threw their weight behind Oburu, while Martin Ogindo (Rangwe), Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem- a cousin to Raila) and Edwin Yinda (Alego Usonga) supported Orengo. Although, Raila’s position on this race was not clear, his proverbial response was that ‘when a child cries for a razor he should be given’. Both the contenders for the senatorial seat, however, vowed that only the people of Siaya would decide who between them would become their senator. Although other contenders for the seat like Joe Donde and Gideon Ochanda were also in the race, their candidature did not prove problematic as that of Oburu and Orengo (The Star, February 1, 2013). In addition to the competitive party primaries that characterized the ODM nominations, other factors other than ideology and ethnicity also played a key role in determining who would go to the senate.

49For instance, in Siaya County, ODM as a party had to try the principle of negotiated democracy in order to accommodate the competing candidates and to avoid fallout from the party. This arrangement saw Dr. Oburu Odinga step down for Mr. James Orengo. Oburu argued that his rivalry with Orengo was dividing the party and that is why he agreed to shelve his ambitions after consultations within the party and instead run for the governor’s post in Siaya (Daily Nation, December 18, 2012). In this negotiated democracy, Oburu stated that “We therefore, decided that the two big seats be divided between the two regions of the county”, that is, senator for the greater Siaya (consisting of Siaya, Ugenya and Gem Districts) and governor for the greater Bondo (consisting of Bondo and Rarieda districts). In this deal both Orengo and Oburu agreed to support each other for the senatorial and gubernatorial seats respectively (Daily Nation, December 18, 2012). With this negotiated democracy, James Orengo went ahead and clinched the Siaya senatorial seat on an ODM ticket.

50However, efforts by the ODM leadership to negotiate a deal which saw Finance assistant minister Dr. Oburu Oginga bow out of the race for the senator’s seat appeared to have hit the rocks after other gubernatorial aspirants refused to play ball. Signs that the deal may not work emerged during a rally at Ugunja trading centre on 29 December 2012 in Ugenya constituency when efforts by Lands minister James Orengo to market Dr. Oburu Oginga for the governor’s seat backfired after residents openly showed their support for his challenger, Mr. William Oduol. Attempts by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo to tell residents that the decision to have Dr. Oginga run for governor’s seat had been reached by all MPs from the county and endorsed by Prime Minister were met with boos from the residents who kept on chanting Mr. Oduol’s name who also warned the party against giving his opponent a direct nomination. The deal was seen as undemocratic seat sharing (Sunday Nation, January 6, 2013). These private settlements brokered by owners of political parties deny the party rank and file their democratic right to nominate their candidates. Second, they deny parties the right and deserving candidates. Third, they derail and defeat democracy and the ideologies that parties stand for (Sunday Nation, January 9, 2013: 18). The democratic principles and ideologies that the ODM stood for were therefore put on trial and relegated to the periphery.

51Odinga’s brother Dr. Oburu Oginga subsequently lost the Siaya governorship primaries to William Oduol in a controversial contest whose results were nullified after being contested by Mr. William Oduol. Mr. Amoth Rasanga was then handed the nomination certificate (Sunday Nation, January 27, 2013). Dr. Oburu Oginga and his sister Ms Ruth Adhiambo Odinga, who had sought the ODM ticket to vie for the positions of governor in Siaya and Kisumu counties respectively, however, argued that they were victimized because of their family name: Odinga. Viewed from a different perspective, the rebellion and riots that characterized the candidature of both Ruth Odinga and Oburu Oginga and the subsequent announcement of their victories in the gubernatorial races in Kisumu and Siaya respectively symbolized a rebellion against the Odinga dynasty, something that was unheard of in Luo Nyanza an indication that Raila Odinga’s influence during the party primaries was at its lowest. Their candidature was seen as an attempt by the Odinga family to impose candidates on the electorate (Sunday Nation, January 27, 2013). Dr. Oburu was denied the ODM certificate by the party’s elections board after his opponent, Mr. William Oduol contested the results announced by the returning officer (Sunday Nation, January 27, 2013).

52Although both Oburu and Oduol were denied nomination in favor of Amoth Rasanga, Mr Franklin Bett, the Chairman of the ODM Elections Board, argued that they found it impossible to determine the clear winner of ODM’s nominations in Siaya County. There was violence in the region as evidenced by reports of the returning officers being beaten and some kidnapped (Saturday Nation, January 26, 2013). Mr Bett argued that the party turned to article 3.1 of its constitution to decide the way forward. The article gives the party’s National Elections Boards the leeway to pass the responsibility to the National Executive Committee in situations where its dispute resolution team is unable to come with a solution. But what did this portend for Raila? The argument is that Raila found himself in an in-between position which put him in a delicate situation as far as his principles, ideas and family issues were concerned. He had to embrace democratic ideals and social justice that he has always believed in at the expense of family issues.

53Despite the mythical grip that Jaramogi’s family has kept on the politics of Luo Nyanza, his first born son, Dr. Oburu Odinga lost his bid for the Siaya gubernatorial seat on a CORD ticket. This is something that could never have been thought of before and also considering that Dr. Oburu Odinga has for 19 years served as the MP for Bondo riding on Odingaism. Another scion of Jaramogi and sister to the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Ruth Odinga, who had expressed interest in becoming the first governor of Kisumu also bowed out of the race following a bitter dispute as to who between her and Jack Ranguma won the Cord ticket (The Star, January 26-27, 2013). Jakoyo Midiwo, a first cousin of Raila got a direct nomination even after being beaten by a new comer Elisha Odhiambo. Allies of Raila such as outgoing Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo, immediate Nyakach MP Pollyns Ochieng were also floored in the nominations by newcomers (The Star, January 26-27, 2013). The same confusion and lack of party primaries informed by ideologies also characterized the Kisumu senatorial and gubernatorial seats.

54In Kisumu, the senatorial seat attracted ODM secretary general Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o and Ochola Ogoda. Mr. Ochola Ogoda however allayed fears that Prof Nyong’o was using his position as the Secretary General of the party for his own advantage. In the run up to party primaries, pressure was mounting on Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o to step down over a conflict of interest (Sunday Nation, January 6, 2013). His stepping down according to his opponents would ensure a level playing field by ensuring free and fair primaries. The Kisumu County senatorial nomination was marred by delays in delivering voting materials alongside other logistical problems. Some polling stations like Osiri did not receive voting materials and the voters ended up voting two days after the official days of the party primaries (Origi, 2013). Although, this contravened the new Elections Act, which set deadlines for the party primaries, the IEBC accepted the name of the nominees after their deadline had passed.

55In a controversial nomination process which was disputed by Mr. Ochola Ogoda, the ODM national board decided to give its secretary general Nyong’o the nomination certificate following a decision in his favor by the ODM dispute resolution committee. Ogoda and Nyong’o had disagreed over the Kisumu senatorial election (The Star, January 26-27, 2013). Later on, Ogoda accepted the decision by the ODM dispute resolution committee to give Nyong’o the nomination certificate for the senator elections and vowed to support him. Considering that Kisumu is an ODM stronghold, many residents believed that Nyong’o clinched the ticket because he did not have a strong challenger (Otieno, 2013). An ODM ticket was almost an automatic ticket to the upper house (senate) for any aspirant whether at the senatorial, gubernatorial or parliamentary levels. In the general elections, Prof Nyong’o floored his only opponent from TNA. It was, however, not an easy ride for the two contenders for the Kisumu gubernatorial seat.

56In the Kisumu gubernatorial seat, which pitted Jack Ranguma and Ruth Adhiambo Odinga who were the main contenders, chaos erupted during the party primaries with the declaration of Adhiambo Odinga as the winner of the Kisumu County gubernatorial race. This win was seen as a way of the Odinga’s family trying to impose one of their own on the Kisumu people who considered Ruth Odinga as an outsider. Indeed she hails from Bondo and is married in none of the three Kisumu clans (Kisumo, Kajulu and Kano-Kolwa). Owiyo (2013) a Kisumu resident retorted that ‘we shall vote for Raila as a president but he should leave us to choose whoever we want for the other races (senator, gubernatorial and parliamentary seat - malokuro to wamiye, pinyka to owenwa). But again through a negotiated democracy, Jack Ranguma carried the ODM ticket for the gubernatorial race while Adhiambo Odinga was appointed as the deputy governor. Having tested the waters and the public mood, Raila denied any role or involvement in the nominations and said that he was prepared to work with those chosen by the people. His appeal for a six piece voting for ODM candidates during his last campaign in Kisumu also fell on deaf ears as people went ahead and elected Olago Aluoch as the MP for Kisumu Town West on a Ford Kenya ticket. This election was challenged in court by the ODM loser Roza Buyu. However, the court upheld the election of Olago Aluoch. Other non-ODM candidates also won various seats through other political parties’ tickets within the CORD alliance. The six-piece voting pattern meant that only ODM candidates were to be voted in at all levels without regard to their development record. The six-piece suit voting pattern is suffocating, cumbersome and impractical in the current climate. Many voters may have decided on their presidential candidate but felt free to choose candidates for the other seats from any party, a person who is able to deliver change (Saturday Nation, January 26, 2013).

57It was therefore observed that the failure of the primary nominations in ODM in 2013 was as a result of an attempt to ensure the re-election of the party’s incumbent MPs some of whom upgraded to contest the senatorial and gubernatorial seats. Consequently, the existing internal procedures were seriously flouted resulting in confusion and division. In the TNA and URP, such incidences were limited and, the parties’ electoral performances were comparatively impressive and with limited controversies. According to some observers the 2013 ODM primary elections resulted in increased independent candidates and defections in Luo-Nyanza than any other party due to “lack of transparency and intra-party democracy”.

58Time and again, Raila has favored his close relatives for top Government positions and recently, for elective posts. He perfected the art of Odinganisation, just like the Kikuyu ruling class Kikuyunised key government posts. It could be argued that some Luo members silently carried forward memories from the sham ODM nominations in December 2012 to March 2013, and punished Raila for imposing his siblings Oburu Oginga and Ruth Odinga and cousin Jakoyo Midiwo on them, yet they had been resoundingly voted out in their various counties. For the first time ever, Raila was booed at some rallies when he was accompanied by his bunch of Luo MPs that voters had rejected at the nominations, yet through biased petitions by the ODM Elections Board, became winners, while the true winners were declared losers.

Existence and influence of institutional arrangements in political parties

59In assessing the types and influence of institutional arrangements within ODM, we asked the informants if they had knowledge of rules and regulations which guide the functioning of their party. Most informants did not have any information. However, party convention was considered the most relevant institutional arrangements above all others. Knowledge of the party constitution was also weak. This probably served to explain why leaders in the party often disregarded the need to consult with their members when they settled to form or opted out of coalitions. Furthermore, the findings revealed an acute information deficit mainly among officials at district level regarding constitutional rules.

60For some informants, Party slogans were in some instances mistaken or perceived as rules. In explaining this degree of ignorance among party officials, it was explained that this process is partly perpetrated by the culture of secrecy around, and monopoly for party information by the political elites. It is important to conclude from these findings that a good relationship between the party leaders and members has been difficult to secure in the absence of adequate knowledge of existing party rules and documents such as constitutions. In order to enhance internal party democracy in the party, it is important that party officials, leaders and members be fully acquainted with these documents.

61Informants at the constituency party offices indicated “respect for the party leaders” as a very fundamental institution, but observed that such an informal institution has been exploited to ensure uncritical acceptance of decisions of the elite. In most cases the informal institutions have worked in favor of the patronage power relations.

Intra-party democracy and party funding

62Within the context of intra-party financial management, this component sought to establish, key sources of party funding, who controls the allocation of party resources in the party, the level of transparency about sources and allocation of party finances and the correlation (if any) between the source of party funding and control of party agenda. The findings showed that ODM party gets most of their funding from three major sources: private funding by their leaders, Parliament, and foreign donations. Membership contributions were not indicated as a source of party funding. Fundraising activities and interest groups contributions were also noted as sources of funds

63Most of the informants said that the party gets its finances privately from the party leadership and from contributions from members of parliament. Informants also noted that NEC controls the allocation of party resources. Others indicated that the party president/leader domineers in the control of party resources. These findings are indicative of limited intra-party democracy since party members are not an important source of party funding, probably due to acute poverty levels in Kenya. This undermines intra-party democracy in the party due to the absence of transparency and accountability.

64The responses also revealed that the party just like other parties is not transparent at all. Political experts held that there is no financial transparency virtually across all parties. There is a lot of secrecy surrounding sources and allocation of party resources as well as undisclosed party funders. Because the party leader and close allies are the key private funders to the party, the sense of political patronage has dominated the party.

65From these results it can be concluded that private funding mainly by party presidents and a few elites limits membership control over the party activities. Finally, the fact that party elites particularly presidents/chairpersons wield more control than the National Executive Council (NEC) and members in the allocation of party resources provides them with the authority to control party agenda. Thus, pervasive patronage and clientelistic relationships and networks have become coercive forces in the party. It can be concluded that the limited transparency and accountability on one hand, and strong control of party agenda by party presidents/elites disadvantages party members in the sense that it limits free participation. Hence, institutional arrangements governing party funding and accountability have insignificant impact on elite behavior to the detriment of intra-party democracy.


66With the General Election now over, it is now time to critically examine factors that negatively and positively steered politics in the Luo community during the past decade. It is also important to project the way forward for this ethnic group and the ODM party, since its leader Raila Odinga is currently not an elected politician. Odinga would have been viewed as a great leader whose political strategy, personality and vision have not only enabled him to introduce constructive and institutionalized reforms, but such a form of deliberative political thinking would have portrayed him as a charismatic champion for change and meritocratic politicization of the nation. However, Raila Odinga became a victim of the new Constitution (2010) that he had passionately campaigned for. The new Constitution (2010) effectively locked out Raila Odinga from the centre of power. He could not join the legislative assembly as the new Constitution (2010) constitutionally barred him from becoming a Member of Parliament. This used to be the case before the new Constitution came into being since Kenya followed a purely parliamentary system of governance.

67The newly elected Luo legislators should move away from the 10-year mode of politicking to an economic development mode. It is true that Kibaki reneged on his signed 2002 MOU with Raila and was later alleged to have stolen his presidency in 2007. However, Luo Nyanza has been associated with politicking and eventually, the goal of securing Raila’s presidency was thwarted by the Supreme Court verdict which put a stay on the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta thereby legitimizing his presidency. There is need for ODM to go back to the drawing board and reassess itself with a view to finding solutions to their internal democratic problems.

68Organizational theory was used to examine the state of internal democracy in ODM. Proponents of this theory argue that it is better to view political parties as ‘living systems’, because they are human organizations with internal and external structures that define their operations (Michel, 1962). The theory emphasizes that just as all living systems, a political institution due to external and internal interactions must undergo structural changes and if they cannot learn and adapt to these environmental dynamics, their systems may disintegrate. As such, political parties must adapt in accordance with survival and other needs such as re-election and gaining support among the electorate (Avnon, 1995).

69A major aspect of political organizations/party according to this theory is their leadership. This is critical to their success because the institutional leader is able to weld members of the organization into a committed polity, with a great sense of identity, purpose and commitment (Masime, 2010). Political party leadership therefore has the obligation of ensuring that vital institutional interests, that keep members’ vision and aspirations in focus, are in tandem with political interests and intrigues that characterize the political environment in which they operate. In this context, institutional values and practices should not be at cross-purposes with democratic norms and values, but rather complement each other.

70Organization theorists also emphasize that both interests and power in a political party are shaped by institutions and not by political elites. Internal party organization and orientation therefore influence the choices and interests of parties, such that it is not just the political leaders that should be the focus of reform, but also structures, such as ensuring election boards work (Diamond, 1994). Institutional processes such as decision-making in political parties are therefore critical in the analysis of behavioral traits of an institution as they are the source of decisions and institutional outcomes. How decisions are made in political organizations will invariably influence their stability and success in achieving their goals (Scarrow, 1996).

71Drawing from this theory, the following are suggested ways of improving the state of democracy in ODM.

72(i) Leadership of the party should be separated from national leadership and those holding elective political offices should not hold party offices. The party should have executive officials to manage and organize party activities.

73(ii) Party leadership should ensure that vital institutional interests, that keep members’ vision and aspirations in focus, are in tandem with political interests and intrigues that characterize the political environment in which they operate.

74(iii) The party must undergo structural changes and learn to adapt to the ever changing political dynamics, otherwise their systems may disintegrate.



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1 In order to provide a substantial reflection on the status of intra-party democracy in the party, this assessment was based on five elements of formal party institutions; knowledge of the contents of intra-party democracy; the existence and influence of institutional arrangements in ODM; candidate selection processes in the party; party funding and the theoretical paradigms that inform the party’s administration and democratic practice.

2 The study was carried in Kisumu and Siaya Counties of Kenya’s Nyanza Province. Non-probability sampling techniques like purposive and ‘snowball’ sampling were used to select key informants for collection of qualitative data while secondary data was collected from party documents, general review of media reports and commentaries on party activities. The informants were drawn from different backgrounds namely party officials/leaders, party members, the general public and political experts and activists.


Lecturer at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.

PhD student at Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (France) and Lecturer at Pwani University.

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