Some ODM lawmakers back Raila for 2017

CLOSE allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday vowed to fight off an attempt by some of their colleagues to prevent the former Prime Minister from running again for President.

Led by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, the MPs and a senator accused those behind the plot of being used by the party’s enemies to create trouble within the organisation.

“Raila is like Mandela. He represents an ideology and we all know what he has stood for, despite the many years he suffered under President Moi. What do those who want to replace him stand for?

“To have a lot of money is not the only criterion you need to run for President. We will continue to campaign for Raila to become Kenya’s President in the next election even if it means that he goes for only one term,” said Junet.

A dozen legislators who include Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka told the Star on Monday that the best way for Cord to beat Jubilee is for Raila to hang up his boots and throw his support to another candidate.

“This is meant to distract us from the referendum issue. It is too early for anyone to discuss who will be the Presidential candidate. For now we are busy with building the party and pushing for a referendum,” said ODM joint Secretary General Agnes Zani.

In a strongly worded but telling statement yesterday, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi confirmed that some ODM insiders are working with the party’s adversaries in a calculated move to inherit Raila’s political constituency.

“It’s blasphemous to contemplate Odinga’s replacement on account of electability. What barometer have they used to measure this electability? And who is it that they have in mind to replace Mr Odinga?” Wandayi asked.

“It’s a convergence of interests between our adversaries who would want to foment trouble in Cord, on the one hand, and a handful of Luo legislators with ambitions to succeed PM Raila Odinga, on the other hand.”

He went on: “They lack the courage to come out in the open for fear of an inevitable political backlash back at home. That’s why they are using proxies such as Hon Richard Onyonka. We shall be unmasking them at an opportune time.”

The agitated lawmaker accused some of his colleagues of hypocrisy, saying the plan started way back in the run-up to the abortive ODM elections at Kasarani at the end of February.

Nyando MP Fred Outa, another close confidant of Raila’s, said there are some people within ODM who are hungry and are out to get handouts from the Jubilee administration.

“People like Onyonka are not worth discussing,” he stated. “Raila remains our preferred 2017 candidate. Those hungry people who are looking for handouts will not stop us from marching on,” Outa said.

Ahead of ODM’s bungled polls, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and a section of Nyanza MPs, self-branded the ‘Young Turks’, were believed to have abandoned Raila.

But the silent rivalry appeared to have dissipated after Raila’s glorious return from his three-month sabbatical in the US at the end of May.

Interestingly, however, the Opposition’s activities, including the push for a referendum, have slowed down considerably since Raila’s departure for the US and Mozambique two weeks ago.

“ODM is Raila and Raila is ODM. Without him on the political scene, Uhuru’s 2017 victory is guaranteed,” another MP said.

– the-star.co.ke

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