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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 7 September 2014

MERU ODM POWER DUELS THREATEN RAILA VISIT TO REGION



Following serious power struggle in ODM Meru, the party mashinani leaders are now calling on its leader Raila Odinga to abandon his planned visit to Meru to pave way for resolving party wrangles in the area.

Already, two factions are fighting over the control of party affairs and with leaders of each faction claiming to be in charge of Raila’s tour. One faction is led by county secretary Robert Kinyua while the other is led by MPs Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East) and Kubai Kiringo (Igembe Central).


The bone of contention is that local party leaders and followers claim that the two leaders have abandoned the party and are  working closely with Jubilee coalition.
But Aburi and Kiringo have denied allegations of abandoning the party terming it as malicious and accused the Kinyua faction of dividing the party followers in the Meru region. Sources now say plans are underway to appoint Mike Mutembei aka Makarena as the Meru ODM chairman but this has been rejected by the Aburi faction. Also sucked in the leadership row is the ODM Mashinani youth coordinator in Meru Jeremiah Mutethi who is said to be opposed to the two MPs.

The power struggle has completely divided the ODM Meru county branch. Sources allude that there are four factions claiming to be bona fide officials of the ODM party branch.
Whereas the MPs are opposed to handpicking of party officials, majority are said to be backing Makarena to serve as ODM chairman because of his track record. They claim that he is capable of uniting the warring parties and bringing in more members.

Mpuri and his team are now said to have petitioned the party headquarters to call for fresh party elections to give the party a new face in the region. The petition comes barely a week after the other faction declared that they are ready to install Makarena as the chairman and asked the party secretariat to endorse their choice.

Back to party loyalty, those opposed to the two MPs now say that they have abandoned the party yet they hold those positions because of the party.  “Mpuri and Kiringo will only be allowed in ODM as members. Their loyalty is questionable because they got over 20,000 votes in their constituencies yet Raila got 3,000 only. We wish them well in their courtship with Jubilee,” Kinyua said.

Another bone of contention is that as each faction tries to be in charge of Raila’s visit, it is emerging that there have been complaints that every time when Raila visits Meru, he is flanked by Ameru from Nairobi who steal the show from grassroots leaders. They are demanding that party headquarters should recognise the grassroot party officials to be in charge of the visit and not the MPs or Nairobi-based politicians from the region.

Analysts now say that Raila must be having a hand in Mpuri’s political nightmare in the county. The picking of Makarena who hails from Mpuri’s backyard, into ODM politics is seen as party’s bid to neutralise Mpuri’s influence as he has been accused of disloyalty.

Mpuri has been on record of late claiming that Raila has been attempting to push him out of party. He is now threatening to boycott Raila Meru tour if he was not allowed to take charge of the tour. He is also on record for rejecting Cord’s calls for referendum while his opponents have pledged support for the referendum calls by Cord and council of governors.