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Orange Democratic Movement
LeaderRaila Odinga
ChairmanJohn Mbadi
Secretary-GeneralEdwin Sifuna
SpokespersonPhilip Etale
Treasurer-GeneralTimothy Bosire
FounderMugambi Imanyara
HeadquartersNairobi, Kenya
Student wingODM Student's League (OSL)
Youth wingODM Youth League (OYL)
Women's wingODM Women League (WL)
Veteran's wingODM Veterans
Parents WingODM Parent's League (OPL)
IdeologySocial democracy[1]
Civic nationalism
Social liberalism
Political positionCentre-left
National affiliationAzimio La Umoja
International affiliationLiberal International[3]
African affiliationAfrica Liberal Network
SloganChungwa Moja, Maisha Bora!
One Orange, Better Life!
National Assembly
85 / 349
12 / 67
5 / 9
Pan-African Parliament
2 / 5
16 / 47
Members of County Assemblies
578 / 1,450

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is a centre-left political party in Kenya.[4] It is the successor of a grassroots people's movement that was formed during the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum campaign. This movement separated in August 2007 into the Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya and the Wiper Democratic Movement – Kenya (formerly the Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya, known as ODM–Kenya).

The name "orange" originates from the ballot cards in the referendum, in which the banana represented a "yes" vote, and the orange represented a "no" vote. Thus, the parties demonstrates that it supported a no vote in the 2005 referendum. The original linchpins of the ODM were Uhuru Kenyatta's KANU party and Raila Odinga's LDP. While Kenyatta left KANU, Odinga remained and now leads ODM. The party tends to be more popular among the Luo people.[5]

2005 constitutional referendum

In the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum, the "no" vote, which the ODM campaigned for, won with 58.12% of Kenyans voting down the proposed constitution. Following this, President Mwai Kibaki dismissed his entire cabinet. The response of the ODM was to say that this was a step in the right direction and to call for an immediate general election, claiming that the Kibaki regime, which had campaigned vigorously in favour of a yes vote in the referendum, had lost its mandate.

Kibaki's government resisted this; elections were not to be held until the last week of Kibaki's five-year constitutionally-mandated tenure. The ODM emerged as a major opposition party, along with KANU, and organized a number of rallies asking for elections and a new constitution. The ODM also protested against the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which opposed the referendum, being dropped from Kibaki's new cabinet.

2007 elections

ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks with the Kenyan media during the 2007–08 Kenyan crisis.

After the 2002 elections, KANU was in opposition, while the LDP was a partner in the ruling NARC coalition until it was removed after the 2005 referendum. The LDP had supported no vote at the referendum, contrary to the policy of president Kibaki. Following their united stand in the referendum debate and responding to a threat by the newly formed Narc-Kenya party the leaders of KANU, LDP and some smaller parties decided to campaign jointly for the upcoming 2007 Kenya general election. They forming the Orange Democratic Movement, which was named after the symbol used to represent "no" in the referendum – an orange. An opportunist lawyer, Mugambi Imanyara, registered the name "Orange Democratic Movement" as a party before the coalition did, forcing them to use the name "Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya" instead.[6]

As 2007 progressed, the coalition proved unstable, with various factions defecting. Uhuru Kenyatta's KANU was the first, pulling out in July 2007 and endorsing President Kibaki's re-election; however, some individual KANU politicians stayed with the ODM. Then, due to an internal rivalry between Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga, the ODM split into two factions in mid-August 2007.[7][8] Raila's group, which also included Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Joseph Nyagah and Najib Balala defected from ODM-Kenya and took over the ODM party registered by Mugambi Imanyara, while Kalonzo's group, led by himself and Dr. Julia Ojiambo remained in the original ODM-Kenya.

The two factions held their elections for presidential candidates on consecutive days at the Kasarani sports complex in Nairobi. On 31 August 2007, Kalonzo Musyoka defeated Julia Ojiambo for the ODM–Kenya ticket, then on 1 September Raila Odinga defeated Ruto, Mudavadi, Balala and Nyagah. There were allegations that some delegates voted in the nominations of both parties.

General election

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ODM supporters at a political rally at Uhuru Park, 2007

Raila and Kalonzo then faced president Kibaki in the general election. The International Republican Institute described election day as "generally calm, organized, and transparent".[9] Kibaki was declared winner of the elections in circumstances that were described as "highly questionable" by various observers.[10] Samuel Kivuitu, chairman of the now disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) could not explain why votes from nearby constituencies had not reached the tallying centre in Nairobi while those from far-flung parts of the country were tallied on time. Many polling stations had more votes cast than the number of registered voters. Maragua constituency, a PNU stronghold, turnout was 115%.[11]

The ODM disputed the results. Violence erupted in the country with ODM supporters in Kibera, Naivasha and Nakuru being targeted for attack by Mungiki-supporting gangs, allegedly backed by police. PNU supporters were also targeted for attack by ODM supporters. People from the Luo ethnic group were shot dead in Kisumu, Kibera and Nakuru in large numbers while many ethnic Kikuyu were killed in the Rift Valley.

The ODM won the largest number of seats with 99 in the 210 seat parliament.[10] It also won three out of five by-elections in early 2008. No sooner had the by-elections been conducted in the constituencies of two ODM MPs who were killed at the beginning of the year than two more MPs died in an aircraft crash. Some ODM MPs whose elections were contested in court lost their seats.

Political Parties Act and party elections

Following the passing of the Political Parties Act months earlier, the ODM held its internal elections in late December 2008 with Prime Minister Raila Odinga emerging as party leader and Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey as party chairman. Due to agitation over regional and gender representation, some party posts had to be created on the day of the vote.[12] Raila has since fallen out with William Ruto, Ababu Namwamba, Najib Balala, and Henry Kosgey among others.

2013 general election

In the lead up to the 2013 general elections, the ODM entered a coalition with FORD-Kenya and the Wiper Democratic Movement to support a single presidential candidate, known as the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.[13]

Electoral history

Presidential elections

Election Party candidate Running mate Votes % Result
2007 Raila Odinga 4,352,993 44.1% Lost Red XN
2013 Kalonzo Musyoka 5,340,546 43.7% Lost Red XN
2017 6,822,812 44.9% Annulled Red XN
Oct 2017 73,228 1.0% Lost Red XN
2022 Martha Karua 6,942,930 48.85% Lost Red XN

National Assembly elections

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position
2007 Raila Odinga 2,973,415 30.83%
99 / 210
Increase 99 Increase 1st
2013 Constituency 2,608,898 21.39%
96 / 349
Decrease 3 Steady 1st
County 2,776,214 22.94%
2017 Constituency 2,884,267 19.23%
76 / 340
Decrease 20 Decrease 2nd
County 3,649,509 24.06%

Senate elections

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position
2013 Raila Odinga 2,669,514 22.01%
17 / 67
Increase 17 Increase 2nd
2017 3,603,167 23.84%
20 / 67
Increase 2 Steady 2nd


  1. ^ Kisika, Samuel (31 March 2014). "ODM MPs to amend bill seeking to reduce school drop-out cases". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  2. ^ Rice, Xan (2 January 2008). "Profile: Raila Odinga, Kenyan opposition leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Gaitho, Macharia (18 August 2019). "All you need to know about the clash between Kenyatta and Ruto". Al Jazeera.
  5. ^ Hamasi, Linnet (5 August 2022). "Political Parties, Democracy, and the 2022 Kenyan Elections". Kujenga Amani. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Orange team up in arms over party’s registration"[permanent dead link] The East African Standard, 29 December 2005
  7. ^ "Opposition in Kenya splits in two" Archived 19 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, 15 August 2007
  8. ^ "Final fallout"[permanent dead link], The East African Standard, 15 August 2007
  9. ^ "Kenya Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Elections December 2007: Election Observation Mission Final Report" (PDF). International Republican Institute. December 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b Okoth, George Odhiambo; Omenya, Gordon Onyango (2015). "New Constitution, Odingaism and the State of Internal Democracy in Orange Democratic Movement and its Effects on the 2013 Election in Kenya". In Fouere, Marie-Aude; Mwangi, Susan (eds.). Kenya's Past as Prologue: Voters, Violence and the 2013 General Election. Twaweza Communications. p. 192. ISBN 9789966028518.
  11. ^ "Kibaki 'stole' Kenyan election through vote-rigging and fraud". The Independent. 23 January 2008. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  12. ^ [1] [dead link]
  13. ^ "Raila, Kalonzo seal deal as Mudavadi joins Uhuru, Ruto". The Standard. Kenya. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.