CORD MPs dismiss Kalonzo, say only Raila can compete with Uhuru
Western region MPs Raphael Otaalo (Lurambi), Andrew Toboso (Butere) and John Naicca (Mumias West) said the pronouncement was ill-timed.
“Our greatest concern at the moment is amassing the numbers to become a formidable force that will battle it out with Jubilee. We should not be talking about who should be the flag bearer now,” said Mr Toboso.
“First of all, do we have structures to carry out fair nominations for our contestants in 2017? We (ODM) lost seats in multiple constituencies across the nation that we ought not to have lost because of shambolic nominations. Such are the things we should be tackling at the moment. In Western, places like Navakholo, Matungu and Lugari went to other parties due to poor nominations.”
Mr Otaalo and Mr Naicca laughed off Mr Kalonzo’s pronouncements saying only ODM leader Raila Odinga poses a threat to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the presidential run by virtue of being among the best-rated politicians internationally.
“Raila has a (voting) block in the Coast (and) Nyanza. He can get more than half (of the votes) in Western and Nairobi. He has his hands ready for the split votes from Rift Valley and that’s what we look for in presidential material,” Otaalo added.
“Raila can actually unite the nation besides coming up with ways of distributing wealth that is in the hands of a few but people surrounding him have made him lose that trust,” said Naicca.
But their counterparts in Nyanza, Coast and Ukambani were more accommodating saying this was an indication that CORD stood for democracy.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said all CORD principals are allowed to make pronouncements, adding that Kalonzo’s sentiments cannot create a rift in the coalition.
“We have to believe our principals because we had a unique pre-election pact that created a pre and post-election unity and that is the cord that binds the coalition,” said Orengo, adding that the unity is still evident despite losing to Jubilee in 2013.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said: “Kalonzo’s declaration debunks the myth that there are flower girls in CORD. Kenyans must await the big announcement on news of the flag bearer when the time comes. There’s is no doubt Raila Odinga remains the front runner but no one should rule out any upsets.”
Ugenya MP David Ochieng’ said Kalonzo should sit with co-principals and agree who is the best among them. “Kalonzo is perfectly in order to declare his interest in the Presidential seat. It is a welcome move and we are a democratic coalition and we should allow freedom of opinion and expression.”