Raila-Kidero rivalry splits ODM leaders

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ODM+2808jODM politicians from Nyanza region are torn between attending Friday’s delegates meeting called by party leader Raila Odinga, or a harambee rally to be presided over by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.

The two functions are both in Homa Bay county, barely 44 kilometres apart, and could set the stage for a showdown, given Dr Kidero’s emergence as Mr Odinga’s challenger for the community’s leadership.

Mr Odinga’s has been described as a consultative meeting for all ODM grassroots leaders from the region.

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The talks are aimed at strengthening the party, which has been hit by leadership wrangles at the national level.

The meeting, billed as one of many to be held countrywide, will also be used to appraise local leaders on the push for the Okoa Kenya referendum campaign.

It will be held at the Amani Conference Centre in Oyugis township.

Dr Kidero’s harambee rally will be at Homa Bay High School. He will be chief guest in raising funds to rebuild four dormitories destroyed in a recent fire.

“I will be the chief guest at the harambee in aid of Homa Bay High school,” Dr Kidero told theNation in an interview on Wednesday.

“At the moment, I think rebuilding the four dormitories at the school is of utmost importance ahead of the Form One selection next January. I will be with the area governor.”

Dr Kidero was unavailable for comment on Thursday but the head of communication at the Nairobi County, Ms Beryl Okundi, said the governor would attend the fundraiser.

Another aide said: “Daktari is simply an invited guest, you cannot call off a function for which you are not the organiser.”

Organisers of the Oyugis meeting told the Nation that those who will skip it risk facing sanctions from the party due to their “disloyalty”.

On the spot are a section of youthful MPs who have been advocating for generational change in the party.

They include Ken Obura (Kisumu Central), Agostino Neto (Ndhiwa), Silvance Onyango Osele (Kabondo Kasipul) and George Oner (Rangwe).

Others are Dalmas Otieno (Rongo), Jared Kopiyo (Awendo) and James Rege (Karachuonyo), among others.

Some of the MPs on Thursday questioned the motive behind holding the two meetings in one county at the same time.

Mr Obura, who was recently in the news for declaring readiness to work with Jubilee, said he would attend both.

“This is where leaders must weigh between development and politics; however, I will attend the two meetings since they are only a few kilometres apart,” he said.

He added that it would have been wiser to hold the meetings on separate days to give the leaders ample time to deliberate on the social and political issues affecting the region.

“Much as we must sit down and put the Orange house in order, development is equally important especially when education is involved,” he added.

SINISTER MOTIVES

Mr Oner said the Oyugis meeting lacked a “straight agenda”, but he would still “pass by and hear what they put before us”.

He said the fundraiser in Homa Bay had been planned more than a month ago and accused the convenors of the Oyugis meeting of having sinister motives.

“It is also not clear who the conveners of the meeting are; their mode of invitation is also abstract. What do they mean by all elected leaders from the region yet some of them are not in ODM?” asked Mr Oner.

Mr Neto said he would not attend any of the two events because he would be out of the country on official duties.

Suna West MP Joseph Ndiege denied that he was allied to Dr Kidero, saying his loyalty to Mr Odinga and ODM was unquestionable.

“I am fully in ODM and a very loyal member at that, it is very wrong for you to suggest that I am supporting Kidero,” he said.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, in whose county the two events are taking place, said that as the host, he would lead the team that will welcome Mr Odinga at Oyugis, but would also send some of his allies to the Kidero fundraiser.

“I will send a delegation to the fundraising scheduled for Homa Bay High school in order to attend to the business of the party,” he said.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga also said he would attend the Oyugis function.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma was non-committal when asked which of the two functions he would attend.

“The decision of whether I will be attending the meeting will be made tomorrow,” he said.

Mr Tom Mboya, a political science lecturer from Maseno University, advised Mr Odinga to reinvent his strategies in the wake of the current troubles or risk facing a fallout in ODM.

“These leaders that are being branded all manner of names are the same ones that make ODM what it is; their contribution is equally significant,” said Mr Mboya.

-nation.co.ke

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