Trouble in Raila's ODM paradise: MPs wash dirty linen in public over House positions
There seems to be trouble in the Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) paradise.
For the first time in many years, it seems that rifts are emerging in the long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga-led party, if recent statements by some of its members are anything to go by.
First, it started with blame games within the party, which escalated to the whole Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition, after Raila lost the August 9, 2022 presidential election to now-President William Ruto.
ODM Deputy Party leader Hassan Joho and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed came under sharp criticism, with rumours circulating that they misappropriated money meant to pay agents during the August 9 polls. Although the coalition has come out to distance the duo from the "false and misleading" allegations.
John Mbadi's woes
Second, the decision to pick Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi to be the Majority Leader (subject to Speaker's verdict on which coalition is the majority) of the National Assembly did not sit well with some of the ODM MPs, and in particular one John Mbadi.
Mbadi (a nominated MP) says that by virtue of being the ODM National Chairperson, laced with the experience of being the 12th Parliament Minority Leader, he was outright the man to take the influential position.
"What has happened is beyond my comprehension. I am the ODM National Chairperson, and I was the Minority Leader in the previous parliament. How then can Opiyo Wandayi - who is my junior in the party - be my leader in the National Assembly? Others are saying it's because I am a nominated MP... But all of us know the circumstances under which I was nominated, it was not because the people of Homa Bay rejected me," the former Suba South MP said this week.
Babu Owino: Over my dead body
In a bid to cool down Mbadi, the ODM Party has decided that he will be the chairperson of the influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the National Assembly.
The (PAC) is responsible for the examination of the accounts showing the appropriations of the sum voted by the House to meet the public expenditure and of such other accounts laid before the House as the Committee may think fit.
But in so doing, the Orange party has opened another can of worms. Critics have been faulting the party of not giving young leaders the chance to hold influential positions. Apparently, the PAC chair position had been reserved for Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.
"With Due respect why should Hon John Mbadi come down from the position of Majority leader to PAC chair which was reserved for me. This will not happen!!! Over my dead body…Young people must get their space.. it’s now or never . He has been rewarded through Nomination," Babu said in a Tweet on Thursday.
But in a rejoinder on Friday, Mbadi told off Babu. "My NOMINATION to the National Assembly must not be misconstrued."
"My supporters in Homa Bay have never recovered from emotional damages they sustained when I was asked (and I complied) to shelve my gubernatorial bid. PROPER organization is key!"
Babu, Olekina in agreement
Babu says that he is among the many youth who sacrificed in terms of on-ground campaigns and resources, yet the party does not value them.
"The ODM Party, so many youth and myself sacrificed a lot and used our resources in the party over the years, our pay is betrayal and blackmail . It is OK. Tomorrow is another day," he laments.
Sentiments that were seconded by Narok Senator Ledama Olekina. "It’s about time we demand what is ours. Enough of always being kept in arms way while others chill in their cribs and are rewarded with the lion share of party positions."
Peter Kaluma's insults
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma has also entered the ugly debate.
He has called off his Embakasi East counterpart for being ungreatful. Ungreatful in his sense that Raila has helped Babu be an MP for a second term, but he still finds it right to disparage the ODM Party.
"Baba Raila Odinga has enabled you to serve 2 terms as Member of Parliament just for shouting "tialala, tibim"! What more does Baba owe you kid bro!"
All in all, the party maintains, "We are UNITED, strong and FOCUSED. Good morning."
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