Cord presidential hopeful Moses Wetangula is facing a backlash from his Ford Kenya party after party officials denied they had endorsed him as their Presidential flag bearer.
The officials drawn from across the country told a chaotic press conference in Kisumu that Wetangula has been mismanaging the party and had not convened a delegates conference to pick a Presidential nominee.
But delegates loyal to Wetangula tried to disrupt the press conference by shouting down other delegates, resulting in a stand-off.
They gave Wetangula an ultimatum of 14 days to convene the National Delegate Conference to elect officials and endorse another presidential candidate or they convene it themselves.
Led by Trans Nzoia Interim Chairman Ken Wafula, the officials accused their leader of mismanaging the party and even deliberately avoiding the celebrations to mark the party’s 24th anniversary.
The officials accused Wetangula of deliberately sidelining some regions and focusing his leadership in Western province.
They cited Coast, Rift Valley, Central, Rift Valley, Eastern, Nyanza, some parts of Western and Nairobi as some of the regions that the party leader is avoiding.
“You cannot be the president of the country by focusing your campaigns in your own county,”Lupesia Isomeso, the party chairman for Nairobi County.
Isomeso criticized the appointment of Bhoni Khalwale as the deputy leader for the party saying that it was not done procedural.
“We are not against Khalwale because he is a vibrant leader who can help us in our quest to strengthen the party but Wetangula has no powers to appoint him. Democracy should have been allowed to take cause,” added Isomeso.
In a bitter exchange of words, one of the delegates Chris Mandu who is also Wetangula’s close ally, was accused of misleading the Bungoma Senator. The leaders accused the Ford Kenya leader of waiting to be spoon fed in the race to get Cord’s presidential ticket.
“Other Cord principals are busy traversing the country in a bid to strengthen their parties but our presidential candidate is doing nothing to strengthen the party,”Nyabute Thomas, Kisii County Secretary general.
Mandu who was forced to leave the room after he had tried to heckle the leaders while they were addressing the media. He accused the officials of allowing strangers into the meeting.
“Ken Wafula who is now claiming to be the party chairman is a member of Safina party and even vied for senator with Safina ticket,” said Mandu, adding that the rest of the members who were present at the meeting were from the New Ford Kenya party and not Ford Kenya.
He accused the officials of not inviting Wetangula for the celebrations.
“They are saying Wetangula refused to attend the celebrations but was not even invited in the first place,’ said Maandu.
They said that despite the party constitution outlining the procedures of elections, the party leader has abused it and has not bothered to ensure that elections are carried out.
“The party leader has been illegally and unlawfully appointing people into the National Elections Council even though he does not have such powers,” said Wafula.
The officials denied that they had endorsed Wetangula as their presidential candidate to compete with other CORD principals for the ticket.
“A presidential candidate is endorsed during the National Delegates Council but the NDC has never met since 2011 meaning they have never nominated him for presidency,” said Wafula.
They accused the party leader of weakening the party by appointing his own friends as officials.
“The party has been illegally and unlawfully appointing people into the National Election Council. More than 4 members were never voted in by the relevant party organs,” added the Interim chairman.
He noted that the failure to conduct the primaries is hurting the party’s ambitions to propel one of their candidates to the presidency.
“We are not saying that we are not supporting Wetangula, what we don’t want is him to taking the party for a ride,” said Wafula,”If he is not ready, we are ready to nominate a candidate of our choice and campaign for him,” he added.