Reality dawns on Raila and ODM after 2 significant losses in Ugenya and Embakasi by-elections

Wake-up call for Raila and ODM with several lessons

File image of ODM party leader Raila Odinga

The humiliating defeat that suffered by Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in the just-concluded Embakasi South and Ugenya constituencies by-elections has served as a wake-up call and a reality check to the former Prime Minister, signaling a decline in the party’s popularity.

A defeat in its Ugenya (Siaya county) where Odinga hails from points to voters are keen not to be fooled into supporting candidates based on parties but purely based on principles.

It serves as yet another clear indication of the party’s declining popularity and points to a well-informed electorate.

During campaigns in Ugenya, voters were told that the contest was not between Chris Karan (ODM) and David Ochieng (Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) Party); they were told that it was a contest between Mr. Odinga and DP William Ruto-a blatant lie that most could tell.

It is now becoming increasingly clear that elections are won based on a clear agenda and not merely stirring emotions against an individual based on falacies.

For a long time in the region, Odinga’s and the ODM party’s political choice was final. However, yesterday’s political symbolizes a rebellion against the party and the political dominance of Mr. Odinga with dissenting voices emerging and carrying the day supported by the electorate.

In cosmopolitan Nairobi’s Embakasi South, ODM’s Irshard Sumra was white-washed by Wiper’s Julius Mawathe by a wide margin.

What was billed to be a bitter contest beween the two parties in the NASA coalition ended up being a walk in the park for Wiper and exposed a diminishing support for the party.

Change in strategy

For the party to revamp following the recent losses calls for a change in strategy.

First, the party needs to look into allegations of imposing candidates on voters during elections. The party has in the past been accused of rigging nominations in favor of some individuals, giving voters limited options.

Those who are rigged out often drop out because losing the ODM ticket in its perceived strong holds is often as good as losing the actual elections. However, the trend is slowly changing with ODM candidates floored in a number of contests.

ODM is also known to crack the whip on those who dont tow party lines with Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa being the latest to face tha party's wrath.

This has significantlt weakened the party with some accusing it of dictatorial practices.

The party may also need to reexamine its working relationship with NASA affiliate parties that analysts opine has seen it lose a number of seats.

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