Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Even as ODM leader Raila Odinga puts on a brave face that all is well within the party, well-placed sources now let slip that the opposition party is gripped in a morass cut-throat power struggle involving forces surrounding party leader Raila on one hand andBudalangi MP Ababu Namwamba on the other.

The bone of contention is a claim that Raila has been secretly wooing the Namwamba team to accept positions in an arrangement currently dubbed “negotiated democracy”. The Namwamba camp on the other hand has been pushing for fresh elections to give party delegates the chance to elect officials of their choice without a speck of any intimidation.

It has been whispered in certain quarters that the now infamous “men in black” who disrupted the party polls at Kasarani were part of Raila’s gameplan after he realised that the Namwamba brigade was going to sweep clean all the positions and turn tables on his preferred contestants.

We have now gathered that the group that enjoys the backing of Raila and which includes nominated senator Agnes Zani and her Homa Bay counterpart Otieno Kajwang’ are now working on their plan B to tame Namwamba and his allies who include Mombasa governor Hassan Joho.

In the new gameplan, there are plans to kick out the party’s executive director Magerer Lang’at, who is accused of being a Namwamba ally. Those pushing for Magerer’s removal claim that he has taken sides with the Namwamba team, something that has not gone down well with the Zani-Kajwang axis. 

At the recent Cord retreat at  Boma Hotel in Nairobi, Kajwang’ was heard piling pressure on Raila to give the party a new executive director to help manage the referendum as they do not have trust in Magerer who since taking over from Janet Ong’era has emphasised on the independence of thought and branding the party in readiness for 2017 elections.

Sources from ODM MPs now claim that some of the legislators from Luo Nyanza have been feeding Raila with fitina and making ODM look like it is a Luo party whose leadership must be from the region.
 However, there is growing disquiet among members of parliament from other regions that there is a lot of marauding Luo ganglike politicians surrounding Raila. Some Luo MPs have been overheard intimidating MPs from other regions that ODM is Raila and Raila is ODM. 

Some MPs from outside Luo Nyanza now claim that the MPs are the same group that frustrated Musalia Mudavadi’s efforts to seek ODM nomination as presidential candidate in the last general elections. This saw Mudavadi part ways with the party to form his United Democratic Forum.

Back to the plot to lock out Namwamba from getting the secretary general’s post, sources now aver that the battle to kick out Magerer will be fought alongside that of referendum campaigns within ODM.
MPs and politicians from outside Luo Nyanza have also set up a team that will counter those opposed to Namwamba. They now say that it will be the greatest blunder to deny him what the entire country saw as victory and to remove Magerer who sacrificed his chance to go to parliament by sticking with ODM when all Kalenjin MPs deserted Raila and ODM for William Ruto’s URP. 

Magerer stuck with Raila during the last elections against expectations that he would join URP like all the rest of Kalenjin MPs did. Analysts say had Margerer crossed over to support Ruto, he would be in parliament today. It is said sticking with Raila was his most trying political test.

As far as Namwamba is concerned, the Luhya nation is keenly watching the events at Orange House and should he and his team be kicked out, then a section of Luhya leaders are likely to ditch Raila and ODM.
We have information that some Luhya elders are planning to visit Raila to clarify what is becoming a case of repeated history of harassing and intimidating Luhya leaders by himself and his supporters from Luo Nyanza. 

The Namwamba case has rekindled the Ford-Kenya succession war between Raila and late Kijana Wamalwa following the death of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The Luhya elders are convinced that Namwamba has been  instrumental in growth of ODM and he should be treated fairly and not to be labeled as  a mole for having an independent mind.

They say that at the height of UDF in Kakamega, it was Namwamba who gave the region the reason to remain in ODM when most Luhya politicians were torn between joining the new wave or remaining in the party.

We have also gathered that at one time Raila had approached Namwamba to take over as the party’s secretary general and Joho as the party leader.
In the deal, Zani would be deputy secretary general, while Kajwang would get the chairmanship. The compromise was to end leadership wrangles that saw party polls disrupted by the men in black. Namwamba team has rejected the offer.