A cross-section of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) officials from Migori County have told Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno to quit the party instead of wrecking it from within.
They said Mr Otieno should take courage and resign from his Rongo seat and seek re-election on his new party “if he is man enough”.
“Let him resign from Parliament and face the electorate to seek fresh mandate. He should not continue deafening our ears with the talks of a new party while still clinging to ODM,” said Mr Joseph Olala, the party’s Migori secretary-general, who described Mr Otieno as a liability to ODM.
Former Migori mayor Peter Masara told Mr Otieno to move to his new party immediately to enable him prove his popularity rating in Nyanza.
“This is coward who cannot be trusted to take to the Luo community anywhere,” he said.
Mr Otieno has stepped up his campaign to upstage former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has dominated Luo Nyanza politics for more than two decades.
Speaking to the Nation, the Rongo MP said he had already registered a new political party to rival Mr Odinga’s ODM.
“The party is alive and kicking. We are not turning back in our campaign to provide alternative leadership. We will be making a major announcement in two weeks,” said Mr Otieno, who was scheduled to fly to Juba where he represents President Uhuru Kenyatta in the South Sudan peace talks.
“ODM is gone. It is indeed unfortunate,” he said before hanging up.
Mr Otieno has lined up a series of meetings and fund raising activities to drum up support for Kalausi (Dholuo for “ whirlwind”), the forerunner of his new party, ahead of the launch.
“Chama to biro, Kalausi ma ilando wachne to en mana nying mar batiso makalo (The party is coming and the whirlwind that is being speculated is just a baptismal name),” Mr Otieno said.
However, Mr Odinga responded by saying that Mr Otieno started becoming hostile to ODM when he declined to endorse him for a top party position.
“I advised him to seek the support of party delegates like other candidate,” said the former Prime Minister.
Mr Otieno’s declaration was greeted with mixed reactions.
An MP from Migori allied to Mr Otieno, but who requested anonymity, wondered how ODM would win the next elections if President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were able to beat ODM when they were not in power.
The move is seen a renewal of the old rivalry between South and Central Nyanza, previously spearheaded by Mbita-born Tom Mboya and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
Homa Bay senator Otieno Kajwang called on those uncomfortable in ODM to leave.
However, political scientist Prof Olang Sana of Maseno University argued that Kalausi will be out to reduce Mr Odinga’s control over Luo MPs in Nyanza but will not solve problems touching on management of political parties in the country.
“Kenya needs a national party. Directing all forces against Mr Odinga is a deflection from real problems facing party politics,” he said.
Mr Otieno was a close ally of retired President Moi before joining Mr Odinga where again, he became one of the key advisers.
The declaration comes after months of speculation about his loyalty to ODM.-nation.co.ke