The Nation (Nairobi)

1 September 2007

Kenya: Kalonzo Picked to Hoist ODM-K Flag

Nairobi — ODM Kenya has nominated Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka to vie for the presidency in the next General Election.

Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka his opponent, Dr Julia Ojiambo, and ODM-Kenya secretary general Mutula Kilonzo during presidential nominations at Kasarani Sports Centre in Nairobi yesterday.Photos/STEPHEN MUDIARI

He polled 2,835 votes against his sole opponent, Nominated MP Julia Ojiambo with 791. There were 20 spoilt votes out of 3,646 cast.

Chairman of the ODM-K nominations board David Rimita, declared Mr Musyoka, 54, the party's flag bearer at 4.20 pm, four hours after delegates started casting votes at Kasarani Sports Centre in Nairobi yesterday.

Dr Ojiambo conceded defeat and promised to work with Mr Musyoka to ensure the party wins the election.

Acceptance speech

Mr Musyoka will face President Kibaki and an ODM nominee to be known today. Mr Musyoka and Dr Ojiambo walked away with ODM-K about a month ago following differences with other presidential hopefuls Raila Odinga, William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyaga and Najib Balala.

Mr Odinga, Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Nyaga and Mr Balala secured control of ODM and will conduct their nominations at the same venue this morning.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Musyoka said if he elected, his government will ensure economic growth, fight poverty, boost security, enact a new constitution, uphold the rule of law and provide universal education and healthcare. He said the country lacked consistent leadership and presented himself as the leader who would take Kenya through the third and final liberation.

"It has come a time for a new political and economic dispensation," said the presidential candidate.

He noted that Kenyans should be challenged when they compare their situation with newly industrialised countries such as South Korea and Malaysia, instead of being depressed.

He led the delegates in observing a minute's silence in honour of 49 Kenyans who perished in two road accidents in Western Kenya in the past two days.

He projected himself as a post-independence politician who Kenya needs.

ODM-K director of elections Peter Kubebea set the process in motion when he declared that Mr Musyoka and Dr Ojiambo had fulfilled all requirements to seek nomination. They had each paid Sh1 million nomination fees and passed "rigorous examinations" on their vision for Kenya, said Mr Kubebea.

He told delegates that there were two methods for nominating the candidate; through consensus or secret ballot. The delegates selected secret ballot.

But unlike the practice in other parties, the candidates were not proposed and seconded on the floor before being invited to each make a 10-minutes speech and woo the voters.

Dr Ojiambo said ODM-K was the true home of Orange democratic movement supporters. She claimed that the present leadership benefited only a few upper-middle and middle-class people.

"Seventy per cent of Kenyans are going hungry while a small percentage of about 20 per cent have more than enough," she said. Mr Musyoka accused the Government of harassing both Christian and Muslim faithful.

He pledged to demystify State House and bring it closer to the people.

"We will consign corruption to history and make the late Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere's assertion that the grounds of State House are sacred, a reality," he said.

Mr Musyoka said Kenya had lost its regional leadership position because of aloofness and pledged to reverse the trend. He promised to push for foreign jobs for Kenyans and economic growth to 10 per cent.

The nomination was orderly and peaceful with opposing candidates heaping praise on each other. It was only interrupted once when delegates from Nairobi scuffled just before presenting their ballot box to Mr Justice Rimita.

ODM-K secretary-general Mutula Kilonzo chided their ODM rivals saying they should learn from yesterday's gathering and stop chest thumping and using threats.

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