Raila plan to defend ODM’s Western turf
Posted Thursday, May 3 2012 at 22:30
Prime Minister Raila Odinga went on the offensive to reclaim lost ground in Western Province following the departure of his deputy Musalia Mudavadi.
Mr Odinga, who returned to the country on Thursday morning, will pitch tent in the region this weekend, attending a funeral in Mr Mudavadi’s Sabatia constituency before addressing a rally in Mumias town.
The two will come face to face in public (they both attended a Cabinet meeting on Thursday) at the burial of Mzee Jason Omwera, the father of Nairobi mayor George Aladwa, on Saturday at Isitzi Village, Izava location in Sabatia.
Mr Mudavadi will attend the burial ceremony as he prepares to hold his first rally as a United Democratic Forum Party (UDF) member in Nakuru on Sunday. Read (I’m no one’s project, says DPM as he quits Cabinet position)
Mr Odinga is working closely with MPs from the region who have decided to stick with him including assistant minister Alfred Khang’ati of Kanduyi, Mr Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i) and Mr Benjamin Washiali (Mumias).
From the burial in Sabatia, the PM will proceed to Mumias town to address an ODM youth rally which has been organised by Mr Washiali and Mr Namwamba.
The rally will be a culmination of the two-day ODM Youth Caravan which starts on Friday in Kitale and will tour all counties in the region and end up in Mumias.
“The Orange Youth Caravan will tour all counties in the region before ending up in Mumias since it is a central place. We want to allow the young people to take charge because ODM is a party for the present and the future,” said Mr Namwamba.
Sources in Mr Odinga’s office disclosed that the PM is under pressure to appoint the Budalang’i MP to the vacant post of Local Government which Mr Mudavadi relinquished on joining UDF.
“The thinking among his advisers is that Namwamba is equal to the task. We want to present a more youthful outlook by appointing young people to some of these positions,” said a close adviser.
Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on the departure of his deputy, the PM challenged Mr Mudavadi and other MPs who have ditched ODM to resign from Parliament and seek fresh mandate on their new parties.
“When I disagreed with Ford Kenya, I quit my Lang’ata parliamentary seat and sought fresh mandate. I have told them to be bold enough and quit all positions. They are breaking the law,” he stated.
But in a rejoinder, Mr Mudavadi through his aide, Mr Kibisu Kabatesi, said: “The Sabatia parliamentary seat belongs to the people of Sabatia. In any case, Kenya’s political history is replete with cases of people who left parties without resigning from Parliament, including those holding the highest positions in ODM.”
He was referring to the events of late 2002 when Mr Odinga led several Cabinet ministers in ditching Kanu for Narc but did not resign from Parliament.
Mr Mudavadi and other MPs who have quit ODM will possibly keep their seats since the requirement to resign on defection is contained in Chapter 8 of the Constitution which is suspended until after the next elections.
Mr Odinga read a carefully worded statement on Mr Mudavadi’s departure in which he described him as a “very good student.”
“Mr Mudavadi and I have had a very productive and fruitful relationship. I wish him the very best in this new endeavour,” he said.