Cord leader Raila Odinga has played down the bickering within the coalition regarding the party’s presidential candidate for the 2017 elections.
Mr Odinga said that ongoing party campaigns were agreed within the coalition, to allow individual parties to strengthen themselves before next year’s General Election.
“We have agreed that we are going into the elections as a coalition. As such, it is important for every party to strengthen itself,” he told a press conference at Orange House.
He received a group of residents of Marsabit who had defected to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) from Jubilee Party. Mr Odinga denied that there was tension in the coalition following recent comments by his co-principals who each wants Raila to back them as flag bearers in the coming elections.
Mr Odinga said that he and the other Cord co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic Movement and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford-Kenya would meet later to discuss finer details and preparations for the 2017 elections.
He called on Cord supporters not to panic over media reports about perceived disunity in the coalition. Mr Odinga spoke moments before he flew to Malindi in Kilifi to preside over various activities organised by area MP Willy Mtengo of ODM.
And addressing a public meeting at Watamu grounds in Kilifi shortly after he landed, Mr Odinga told ODM supporters that they should prepare for a by-election to replace Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro who has defected from ODM to Jubilee.
The Cord leader, who is on his fourth visit to the coast region since August, said the party’s disciplinary committee had summoned Mr Munga’ro and other rebel MPs to appear before it and officially declare their party position.
“Those who defected from us, we wish them the best of luck. The party disciplinary committee has written to Mung’aro and others so that they can officially declare their stand,” he said.
Should the MPs officially confirm their defection, ODM will start legal mechanisms to ensure by-elections are held in those constituencies and counties, he added.
But even as ODM vowed to pursue defectors within its ranks, Ford-Kenya too has asked two of its MPs who defected to ODM to resign from their seats.
Awendo MP Jared K’opiyo and Kisumu West’s John Olago Aluoch of Ford-Kenya, were among leaders who defected to ODM during a rally in Kisumu at the weekend. They were received by Mr Odinga.
Other defectors were Migori Governor Zachary Obado and Muhoroni MP Onyango K’oyoo, both from the People’s Democratic Party, and Kuria East politician John Magaiwa.
On Wednesday, Ford-Kenya officials in Kisumu asked the two MPs to relinquish their positions as MPs.