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I registered ODM to secure Kibaki re-election, Lawyer Mugambi Imanyara

Meru Senatorial aspirant Mugambi Imanyara now claims his move to register the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party after the 2005 referendum saved former President Mwai Kibaki from a resounding defeat in 2007.

Mr Imanyara, who is fighting an opposition sympathizer tag in his campaign, is vying on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket.

He handed the ODM party to Raila Odinga ahead of the 2007 general elections and served as the party’s secretary for legal affairs until 2011.

While ditching PNU in February, Senate aspirant Anderson Kathendu had accused Mr Imanyara of holding the party at ransom and imposing ODM sympathizers as officials.


But speaking in Meru, Mr Imanyara claimed the registration of ODM was meant to shield Mr Kibaki from a repeat defeat in the elections.

“When President Kibaki’s ‘Banana’ team lost the referendum in 2005, it was a turning point for his presidency. Mr Odinga and the NO campaigners were ousted from government and had started popularizing ODM with intent to register it as a party. We had to act fast to disorganize their opposition,” Mr Imanyara said.

He said he registered ODM with the help of a government think tank and later influenced the registration of ODM-Kenya.

“When the ODM secretariat discovered I had already registered the party, they made a lot of noise but I advised them to register another party by the name ODM-K. When elections were near Mr Kalonzo Musyoka made away with ODM-K leaving Mr Odinga without a party. We agreed to give ODM to Mr Odinga to divide them,” he recounted.

Mr Imanyara disputed claims that he sold the party to Mr Odinga.


“If ODM remained one, Mr Kibaki could have lost like it happened in the referendum. I played a big role in Mr Kibaki’s re-election,” he argued.

Mr Musyoka went ahead to become vice president when ODM-K joined hands with PNU after the disputed elections.

Registration of ODM-K in 2006 was marred with tension after the then Attorney General (AG) Amos Wako had refused to approve it citing existence of ODM.

However, ODM-K was registered after its leaders vowed to lead hundreds of their supporters to Sheria House–the AG’s office–to demand registration.

Mr Wako said they had decided to register ODM-K due to the failure by the party registered under a similar name – Orange Democratic Party of Kenya – to prove that they owned the movement’s name.

“It was felt the one registered first may not be able to demonstrate that it was identified with the name. Mr Imanyara could not demonstrate to the public that his clients owned the ODM name. These others have demonstrated,” the AG said.

ODM-Kenya brought together Mr Odinga, Mr Kalonzo, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala, Mr Joseph Nyagah and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta who later joined President Kibaki’s team.

Wrangles over who would be flag bearer led to creation of two camps before the then interim chairman Dan Maanzo declared ODM-K belonged to Mr Kalonzo. Those in support of Mr Odinga’s presidential bid joined ODM.