Leaders: Raila party paying for past sins- Arrogance
“Remember someone saying the divorce would be loud, noisy, messy and with consequences? These are the signs,”: Often seen as the bully in the National Super Alliance, the Orange Democratic Movement has become the laughing stock after failing to clinch two parliamentary seats in by-elections on Friday.
Four Nasa affiliate outfits — Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress, Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani — accused ODM of oppressing them and gloated at its humiliation.
The by-elections in Embakasi South and Ugenya were won by Wiper’s Julius Mawathe and David Ochieng of Movement for Democracy and Growth party respectively.
On Sunday, Wiper Secretary-General Judy Sijeny said ODM refused to heed Mr Musyoka’s call to rally behind Mr Mawathe.
“My party chief reached out to ODM leader Raila Odinga but ODM still went ahead to field a candidate. We are glad to have won,” Ms Sijeny told the Nation.
In Embakasi, ODM’s Irshad Sumra garnered a paltry 7,988 votes against Mr Mawathe’s 21, 628.
The seat fell vacant when Mr Sumra successfully launched a petition against Mr Mawathe’s August 7, 2017 victory.
In Ugenya, ODM’s Christopher Karan was beaten by his predecessor Ochieng who bolted from the Orange party in 2017.
Ms Sijeny said even after Wiper withdrew its candidate in favour of ODM’s Antony Oluoch in Mathare North in 2017, ODM failed to reciprocate in Embakasi South and sponsored Mr Sumra.
“All that has passed and we have no hard feelings. However, we talked to them earlier and they promised to listen. Our supporters feel ODM was not very kind to us even though Sumra had a right to contest,” she added.
The removal of Mr Wetang’ula from the position of the Senate Minority Leader was also cited as arrogance on the part of ODM.
ANC Secretary-General Barrack Muluka quoted Mr Wetang’ula’s sentiments when he was hounded from the Senate Minority leader position and replaced with Siaya Senator James Orengo.
“Remember someone saying the divorce would be loud, noisy, messy and with consequences? These are the signs,” Mr Muluka said.
He accused Mr Odinga of thriving on “politics of horses”.
“The ODM leader has demonstrated that he excels in the partnership of a horse and a rider, where he is always the rider and his partners the horses. Haven’t you heard him of talking about a two-horse race?” he asked.
The ANC official added that the party’s defeat in Ugenya and Embakasi South “signifies a new sunset and fresh sunrises”.
Ford Kenya Secretary-General Eseli Simiyu said ODM suffers from the big brother syndrome.
“They got to a point where they decided that Nasa partners are cowards and useless. That is how they have been treating us. They should have discouraged Sumra from that petition in the first place because it was an intra-Nasa case,” he said, adding that ODM has a use and dump habit “which is bound to fail”.
“When Jubilee tries to reach out to other Nasa parties, ODM pushes them away. ODM leaders feel they have used Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya and now they don’t need them. The results are there for all to see,” Mr Simiyu added.
Wiper Vice-chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the rivalry among Nasa affiliate parties “was the sole reason we lost the 2017 presidential elections and many seats in all categories”.
He said ODM ought to have ceded the Embakasi South seat to Wiper “in the spirit of the coalition.”
CCM party leader and former Bomet Governor Ruto said parties should be allowed to widen their democratic space.
“The case of Ugenya is welcome. No region or zone should be left for a particular party. Even small parties should be able to win seats in areas perceived to belong to others,” Mr Ruto said.
“It is important for ODM to allow smaller parties to thrive in Nyanza. It risks becoming moonless in the area because too much interest would deter development.”
His sentiments were echoed by former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, who said it is not right to be in one house and have divergent views.
“Either you are together or apart. When I said we needed one political party, I knew what I was saying. It could have enhanced unity,” Mr Muthama said.
Contacted on Sunday, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, defended his party’s actions in the elections, saying Kenya is a multiparty democracy.
By JUSTUS OCHIENG’