Raila steps in to end Western MPs rebellion
Led by Silvance Anami, they included women reps Florence Mutua (Busia), Dorcas Kedogo (Vihiga), Godfrey Odanga (Matayos) and Raphael Otaalo (Lurambi).
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has moved to calm a rebellion stoked by MPs from western Kenya.
A day after stinging criticism of the party’s leadership by nine ODM MPs from the region, Raila yesterday met five of the lawmakers for closed-door talks at which he agreed to have a meeting with all local branch chairmen.
The group led by Shinyalu MP Silvance Anami included Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua, Vihiga Woman Representative Dorcas kedogo, Matayos MP Godfrey Odanga and Lurambi MP Raphael Otaalo. They held talks with Raila for three hours at his Capitol Hill offices in Nairobi.
But the absence of ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba and party vice chairperson Paul Otuoma, who spoke out harshly about the party’s leadership, was conspicuous.
But the party’s National Chairman John Mbadi (Suba) said the leaders were not genuine in their claims.
Mr Mbadi said Otuoma and Namwamba had not presented their case for discussion yet ODM leadership meets often to discuss matters affecting the party.
“Both sit in the highest decision-making organ of the party. If there are issues, there is a right channel of presenting grievances and not through the media,” said Mbadi.
Mbadi defended Raila, saying the Western leaders were being used by their political opponents to wreck the party from within and to find a reason of leaving.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Mr Anami said the leaders agreed the party leader will in the next month hold a meeting with all the ODM branch chairmen from Western and address their concerns.
Mbadi denied knowledge of any force working towards removing Namwamba from the position of secretary general.
He said Namwamba was the official spokesperson of the party and nobody had denied him the chance to exercise his powers in the performance of his duties.
He also defended himself over the allegations that he went to open an ODM office in Khwisero without informing the area MP and other leaders, saying that he was invited by the area branch leader.
A source who spoke to The Standard in confidence, disclosed that Namwamba was on his way out of the party and was looking for an exit strategy.
Namwamba abdicated his roles in the party long time ago and is just clutching at straws like a drowning man. We know he is on his way out, but before he leaves, he wants to paint a picture of a man frustrated,” said the source.
He went on: “We know who his financiers are and what they want to achieve but we shall not allow them.”
A majority of the ODM Western leaders have conspicuously been absent in CORD parliamentary group meetings, ODM retreats, and other coalition functions.
However, Namwamba said Western leaders would not leave the party because they are shareholders.