Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Thursday, 13 November 2014

RAILA, KIDERO SHOWDOOM LOOMS OVER PARALLEL MEETINGS IN HOMA BAY



Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga today holds crisis talks in South Nyanza, the hotbed of the party’s rebellion, as he strives to stem the tide of dissent in a defining month for the main affiliate member of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.
Raila has summoned officials of Homa Bay branch, which has been in turmoil since his ally Senator Otieno Kajwang’ was ousted, for the meeting in Oyugis town. This is the first in a series of attempts to mend the divisions in ODM that could undermine his Okoa Kenya referendum campaign.
The former premier’s choice of South Nyanza for the first reconciliation meeting on the road to the critical November 28 National Governing Council meeting.
Most of the perceived ODM rebels come from the area, including Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, who has since been appointed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s special envoy, and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who is being fronted as his possible successor by a faction within the party advocating for fresh blood.
So frosty are relations between party members that a list of 14 MPs from the region perceived to be working with the Jubilee government was circulating on social media in the countdown to the meeting. The rebellion in ODM has rocked CORD, the alliance under which Raila made his third unsuccessful run for the presidency last year.
As a sign of more trouble brewing for Raila, CORD rebels on Wednesday night continued with their series of meetings, fuelling speculation they were drifting away from Raila’s grip.
Dubbed the ‘fresh ODM’, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, ousted ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat and Kilifi North MP Gideon Mungaro teamed up with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua (Wiper) at a hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.
The four first met at the Coast last week following Mr Langat’s violent ejection from a CORD Parliamentary Group meeting in the presence of Raila and Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka by some ODM Members of the Nairobi County Assembly, who accused him of being a Jubilee mole.
“We as young politicians decided we should meet and discuss development as opposed to differences. There is so much going on in the country that we must discuss as young leaders,” retorted Mr Mutua when asked about the Wednesday night meeting.
The four have a grudge against their parties. Mr Namwamba believes had the so-called Men in Black not broken up ODM polls, he would have been elected secretary general. Mr Mung’aro was unceremoniously removed as Minority Whip in the National Assembly and is leading a wing of rebel ODM Coast MPs. Mr Langat is angry about the betrayal as he stood by Raila against Deputy President William Ruto’s party’s wave in the Rift Valley. Mr Mutua has had a frosty relationship with his party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Asked if they were planning a strategy should their parties decide to crack the whip on dissenting members, Mutua explained they were not concerned about what the party thinks.
“We are all firmly in CORD and are not concerned with what they want to do. For now, we are only concerned with the issues affecting the country and it’s important that we sit down as young leaders to find a way forward,” he said.
However, Magerer hinted there would be a “big announcement” soon. And Namwamba said: “We as young leaders are keen on development and unity in the party. I am firmly in ODM and loyal to my party.”