Fresh trouble began simmering in CORD just as coalition leader Raila Odinga was wrapping up a five-day-tour of the Western region.
CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula threw a spanner into the works by saying Raila should abandon his presidential ambitions and either back Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka or him.
He said Raila had two of his victories stolen during the three times he has contested for the top seat, and he should therefore consider supporting a different candidate.
“He (Raila) must support a winning team. The gesture will be very helpful to the coalition,” Wetang’ula said.
Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, who resigned recently as Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary General was quick to welcome Wetang’ula’s sentiments.
“I want to congratulate Wetang’ula for the statement he made. It is the right direction to go in making sure Western region speaks with one voice,” said the lawmaker at Budalang’i High School during a meeting with school heads from Busia County.
Namwamba added that “even if Raila comes to Western a million times, he must realise the ground has shifted going by the hostility he encountered in Busia and Kakamega.”
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, a Ford Kenya legislator and a close ally of Wetang’ula said CORD must face the reality head on.
“Wetang’ula’s sentiments should not be seen in bad light because it is good for the entire CORD fraternity,” he told The Standard on Saturday.
He said the position by ODM officials that Raila is the automatic presidential torch bearer for CORD is in bad faith.
“The three CORD co-principals have equal opportunity to be flag bearers yet ODM assumes Raila is the best. They should come up with an objective nomination process,” he said.
ODM Nairobi County chief George Aladwa was adamant the party will not agree to anything short of Raila becoming CORD’s automatic candidate. “You can talk to Wetang’ula and Kalonzo about CORD but you are our choice,” Aladwa told Raila. He said Raila should stop reaching out to rebels who appear to be reading from a different script.
And Luhya Elders Forum Chairman Patrick Wangamati censored Raila for allegedly insulting the community and disparaging its leaders.
“I am shocked by demeaning statements by Raila that Luhyas are useless and that they are going nowhere,” said the nominated Ford Kenya MP.
“Bearing in mind that the ‘Mulembe’ people are peaceful, welcoming and accommodating, such statements are unfortunate, demeaning and only serve to reduce the gains people of western have worked hard to inculcate to ensure a peaceful coexistence,” said Wangamati.
He warned Raila that such utterances will not add value to his political aspirations. On Thursday during an interview on KTN, Wetang’ula said crowds turning up at Raila rallies cannot translate into votes.
“Mammoth crowds turned up for our rallies in Rift Valley but we ended up getting no single vote there,” he said.
The Opposition chief has been holding a series of rallies to counter forays by Jubilee after the exit of Ababu and Paul Otuoma, who was ODM’s vice chairman.