ODM members threaten to force Ababu out of party
Internal wrangles continue to rock the Orange Democratic Movement with the opposition party’s youth league calling for rebel member Ababu Namwamba to be expelled.
A declaration by six rebel members of Parliament at the Coast on Sunday that they would start campaigns to shift public support away from party leader Raila Odinga by December sparked a backlash Monday.
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi said that so long as the problems affecting the region are unsolved by the national government, voters will remain in the Opposition.
He said the planned rallies by the group led by Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro would not bear fruit if they fail to offer solutions.
“We in the Coast are not in the Opposition because we like it,” said Mr Mwinyi. “We are there as a protest for the marginalisation, historical injustices and mistreatment by successive regimes. Our people are not employed, our collapsed industries have not been revived, our parastatals are not supported and our roads are neglected,” he said.
In Nairobi, ODM Youth League leaders demanded Mr Namwamba’s expulsion for resigning as the party’s secretary-general last week.
The group’s chairman, Mr John Ketora, said the Budalang’i legislator’s loyalty to ODM was compromised a long time ago.
“He has just been a liability and the earlier he leaves, the better,” Mr Ketora said at a press conference in Nairobi on Monday. “If not, we shall push him out ourselves.”
And in western Kenya, Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Shinyalu MP Silverse Anami have accused the Jubilee coalition of being behind rebellion in ODM.
The two Monday said there was a grand scheme to scuttle the support Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) enjoys in the region ahead of the polls next year.
They added that Jubilee was targeting MPs from opposition strongholds with promises to reward them after they quit their parties.
They spoke just a day after Sirisia MP John Waluke announced that he had resigned as the ODM secretary for security affairs.
He spoke after he and Mr Namwamba met Mr Ken Lusaka — the governor of Bungoma and the New Ford Kenya Party leader.
On Monday, New Ford Kenya became the first party to announce that it was dissolving to join President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.
The party is expected to bring together all parties supporting the ruling coalition.
Dr Khalwale charged that Jubilee had marginalised communities from western Kenya and had failed to initiate meaningful development projects to benefit the region.
“It’s unfortunate that Jubilee is preoccupied with campaigns meant to scuttle the support Cord enjoys in western instead of addressing the development needs of the region,” Mr Khalwale said at a funeral.
Dr Khalwale was elected on a United Democratic Forum (UDF) ticket but has been associating with Cord.
Separately, Mr Anami said western Kenya leaders involved in a campaign to discredit ODM were a big letdown to the electorate.
“We are aware of the desperate attempts by Jubilee to undermine the support we enjoy,” said Mr Anami in Kakamega town.
“MPs threatening to ditch Cord should know voters will not be fooled easily to follow them. The Cord coalition still enjoys massive following in western and the defection of some of our colleagues to Jubilee is a big gamble they are making.”
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said ODM lawmakers who had decided to quit the party or resign their positions were free to do so.
“I wish them well since its within their democratic right to do so. But we are determined to do everything to ensure ODM remains the most popular party in western region,” he said.
At the Coast, Mr Mwinyi said the region was still an opposition zone. He charged that what Jubilee was doing would benefit a few people but not the citizens.
“For example, there was no budgetary allocation for the Mombasa-Nairobi highway yet the port of Mombasa is our lifeline. They have refused to build the Mombasa free port and are taking it to Lamu to kill Mombasa.
They want to expand Malindi airport to kill Mombasa and they killed Changamwe oil refinery deliberately,” he said.
According to him, the leaders fighting ODM from within were pursuing their personal agendas.