ODM KICKS OUT NAMWAMBA IN NEW LINE-UP
ODM leader Raila Odinga is bringing on board his most trusted allies to take over the leadership of the party in a new line-up that elbows out firebrand Bundalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Namwamba, both of whom chair plum parliamentary committees, are among the notable figures missing in this list.
ODM’s elections aborted in February this year after the infamous men-in-black incident in which hired goons stormed the hall in Kasarani and destroyed election materials.
Keen on consolidating unity within his party, the former PM has engaged in a delicate balancing act, bringing together former foes whose rivalry had threatened to dismember the Orange party.
In an uncharacteristic attack on Raila, Namwamba on Monday criticized the leader’s referendum push, saying he lacked the moral authority to condemn the IEBC, when he himself failed to hold democratic internal elections.
“If you cannot trust Ababu Namwamba with the secretary generalship of a party because he doesn’t look trustworthy, because he comes from a different community, then how will you work with his community when you become President?” Ababu pointedly asked.
Two former rival groups coalescing around Namwamba and Nominated Senator Agnes Zani have both been included in the leadership of the party, although some former contestants have been given positions they did not run for.
Outspoken Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ has been proposed to succeed former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey as the party’s new National chairman.
Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok and Bomachoge Chache MP Simon Ogari, both of whom were in Namwamba’s Team Fresh, will now deputise Kajwang’.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya will be Raila’s two deputies in a structure that was crafted to ensure regional balance.
But in what may well have triggered Namwamba’s unprecedented outburst, Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o is proposed to continue serving in the powerful position of secretary general, with Zani as his deputy.
Yesterday, a number of ODM legislators slammed Namwamba for his tirade against Raila, claiming that the Bundalang’i lawmaker was an agent of external forces keen on destroying the Orange party.
“The idea of allowing Nyong’o to continue as secretary general of ODM must be supported by all patriotic members of the party,” maintained Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, a close confidant of Raila.
“In my view, he should not just hold on in a temporary capacity, but must do so substantively – until after the next General Election”.
Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire has been proposed to take over the position of party treasurer and be deputised by Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro. Mbalambala lawmaker Abdikadir Aden would be the party’s organising secretary under the new deal.
Speaking to the Star, Ogari, who spiritedly campaigned together with the Namwamba team, said “we will give an official position, once it has been communicated to us, and decide wether to take up the position or not”.
Since the February abortive polls, ODM has faced a serious leadership challenge at the helm, particularly in signing official documents such as for financial transactions.
Rebellious Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, who had been the acting party treasurer since the exit of former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara, quit the position after his acrimonious falling out with Raila.
Kosgey, who, alongside Dalmas, Nyong’o and ODM executive director Margerer Langat were the principal party signatories, also wrote to the party in June to withdraw his signature.
This forced the National Executive Council to name finance director Joshua Kawino and former party director Janet Ongera as new signatories, to avert a financial crisis.
Sources intimated that the party is planning a special National Delegates’ Convention to ratify the new officials so that ODM can shift focus to the campaign for the national referendum.