I had the privilege to attend Monday’s ODM National Executive Committee meeting in Nairobi courtesy of the Secretary General and members who allowed me the unique opportunity to observe ODM democracy in action and I must once again thank them for the privilege.
Much of what what was said is confidential so needless to say, I will not disclose same here.
However, I can note a few general observations that I think are essential for everyone to know:
First, to witness the calm, thoughtful and insightful deliberations at NEC is a far-cry from what one sees being reported in the media about the state of affairs in ODM, which is made to look as though at war with itself when in reality, it is not.
Yes, Deputy Party Leader Mudavadi’s quest to challenge the Party Leader for the nomination is intriguing, to say the least but to watch him preside over the NEC in the discussion of party affairs in the seamless manner he did before the Party Leader arrived, who continued the seamless discussion of same to conclusion was only but refreshing.
Indeed, as the long meeting was drawing to a close and a bit of housecleaning matters were being worked out off the floor, the two leaders were jovially engaged in a discussion prompting one member to seek a calling of the committee to order just to note how that was important, namely, seeing the two leaders in such an obviously jovial and buddy-like exchange with each other and it is.
Second, it is often said ODM is the only party with a governing structure in the country and one that lives and breathes across the country–more than anything that is out there, anyway. To witness that in operation was, indeed, very refreshing as well.
Third, it was very refreshing to see the highest governing organ of ODM so representative of the country, complete with gender and regional balance and talk about leadership by example, here is one good one as the NEC was constituted long before passage of the constitution or the Parties Act but ODM being at the forefront of ushering in these constitutional reforms, including issues of gender and regional balance in governance, the party was long practicing what it preaches and that is not only refreshing, it is something all parties must emulate.
It was reported in the media that the NEC tabled the question of party nominations but having been there and privy to what was said and reading what was reported and especially some of the headlines, one could laugh if it was not such a serious matter we are talking about.
The Party Leader flanked by other NEC members briefed the media on what was said but, as usual, the media put out a story more befitting its narrative than what is actually going on within ODM, especially on the question of presidential nominations.
One would hope the media at least tries harder in not always trying to paint a picture that doesn’t exist or if it does, not with the exaggerations it does. I suppose that won’t be happening soon as old habits die hard–but they shall be put to task when they go too far.
In sum, one came away from the NEC meeting firmly believing there is nothing the highest governing organ of ODM cannot resolve consistent with its mandate and for those hoping to see inability of the body to do so or for problems to arise relative to how the body conducts itself especially in connection with the ongoing rumblings about the nomination process at the presidential level, one would have to look elsewhere for such but not NEC or ODM.
In other words, despite all you are reading or hearing, all is well within ODM and shall remain to be so to the day the party once again emerges victorious at the polls come elections 2012 with even more success this time around than the last time around and will owe that to its maturity and discipline both in terms of individual leadership and party which stands above all others and simply is incomparable to nothing out there in terms of ability to get things done effectively with a desirable outcome.