ABABU: RAILA HAS NEGLECTED MY PEOPLE FOR YEARS
MP Ababu Namwamba has escalated his criticism of ODM leader Raila Odinga, accusing him of neglecting the people of Budalang’i constituency despite their unwavering support for a decade.
Reacting to reports that Mr Odinga would embark on a series of rallies in western Kenya next week, Mr Namwamba said that while he welcomes every national leader to his constituency, Mr Odinga will have to explain to the Budalang’i people why he has never visited them since 2007.
“It has been nine years since Raila came to Budalang’i to ask for votes when he was running for President in 2007. The people of Budalang’i voted for him and he did not even visit them when he was Prime Minister (in the Grand Coalition government),” he told reporters after a meeting with the German Ambassador to Kenya, Mrs Jutta Frasch, in Nairobi.
“I hope that when he visits, he will come with something that will change the lives of the people of Budalang’i.”
Mr Namwamba recently quit as the ODM Secretary-General and announced his intention to either form or move to a new party.
Soon after he made the assertion, a tweet that Mr Namwamba sent in 2014 emerged in which the legislator stated that he had been with Mr Odinga in Budalang’i.
The tweet, dated September 7, 2014, said: “Sincere appreciation (for) my party leader, Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga for visiting us in Budalang’i yesterday.”
However, Mr Namwamba clarified that Mr Odinga’s visit in 2014 was to attend a burial, and not to meet with Budalang’i people, so for him, the visit didn’t count.
In 2008, when Members of Parliament were being sworn in after the disputed presidential election of 2007, Mr Namwamba swore allegiance to Mr Odinga, who later became Prime Minister in the Grand Coalition.
In the last month, however, he has been critical of Mr Odinga, accusing the ODM party leader of frustrating and undermining him.
Mr Odinga has planned a series of rallies in western Kenya, including Busia County, in an attempt to deal with rising dissent within his party caused by walkouts by several legislators including Mr Namwamba and his allies from the region. Mr Odinga is also facing a similar problem at the Coast.
Mr Namwamba, who was until last week the ODM Secretary-General, has had several run-ins with his party.
In February last year, his attempts to clinch the Secretary-General’s post was thwarted after a group called Men in Black disrupted ODM elections.
Barely two months later, he was forced out as chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee after his colleagues accused him of low integrity.
Later, his associates in the Orange party said he was not defending the party’s position strongly enough, as others questioned his loyalty to the party.
Last week, he announced he had quit as Secretary-General and promised to announce the official departure from the party soon.
However, ODM, which is part of the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord), has said that Mr Namwamba is yet to hand in his resignation letter.
On Wednesday, he said he doesn’t need to write any letter because his actions already indicate he has left the party.
“Can anything be more substantive than me saying it several times that I have out of my own volition resigned? I have relinquished the position of Secretary-General,” he said.
Mr Namwamba said he will be meeting with representatives of the international community for possible support on elections and other political reforms.
“The conversation has started. We will continue talking. The third force is a reality. It is an unstoppable wind of change,” he said.