Raila trap for ODM rivals
Posted Wednesday, July 11 2012 at 23:33
Prime Minister Raila Odinga funded a retired general in an elaborate political plot to keep William Ruto from taking over the United Democratic Movement, a former aide claims in a new book.
Mr Miguna Miguna, the PM’s former advisor on coalition affairs, writes that he was part of a plan in which Mr Odinga gave retired General John Koech money to fight the Eldoret North MP.
The political plot was an ODM project on which Miguna worked with Nairobi lawyer Mugambi Imanyara.
“As Ruto announced that he would run for the presidency on the UDM ticket, we resolved to lock him out of both parties.
“Our first strategy was to ensure that Gen Koech clung onto the UDM chairmanship in order to prevent Ruto from taking over the party,” Mr Miguna wrote.
This, he adds, was done through Gen Koech filing a petition with the Political Parties Tribunal, challenging Mr Ruto’s “irregular takeover of UDM”.
Mr Ruto was forced to retain lawyers for a battle with Gen Koech at the tribunal and the High Court, Miguna writes.
Out of frustration arising from the cases, Mr Ruto abandoned UDM and registered his own United Republican Party on whose ticket he is now gunning for the presidency.
Miguna claims Mr Odinga funded Gen Koech’s litigation through Orange House, the ODM national office. On Wednesday, Gen Koech dismissed the claims, saying: “It’s total propaganda. There was nothing of the sort.’’
The former advisor also reveals that ODM secretly funded Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale in a by-election last year after he lost his seat through a petition.
A strategy meeting was called at which some argued that the party should support Dr Khalwale because he was unbeatable and that his victory would also be ODM’s.
The party’s deputy leader, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, he says, was not in the know about these discussions.
There had been talk at the time that Mr Odinga’s secret strategy was to show Mr Mudavadi as weak in his own backyard and therefore incapable of challenging him for the ODM presidential ticket or even being his running mate in next year’s elections. Miguna claims he opposed the suggestion, arguing that weakening Mr Mudavadi would have adverse effects on ODM.
“Luckily the meeting agreed and minutes after it ended, I received a telephone call from Mudavadi’s private secretary, Kibisu Kabatesi, thanking me for standing up for the DPM. That proved to me not just that my arguments were correct, but also that our team was an open sieve.”
The party fielded a candidate, Mr Ben Shinali, belatedly but Miguna writes senior ODM officials continued secretly channeling funds to Dr Khalwale.
Mr Kabatesi on Wednesday confirmed that he spoke to Mr Miguna about the Ikolomani debacle, which he described as a ploy for ODM to lose then portray Mr Mudavadi as weak.
“And that is exactly what they did. It was part of a long strategy to push DPM to the periphery with the objective that a weakened DPM could not challenge Raila,’’ Mr Kabatesi said.
He claimed that the meetings to raise money for Dr Khalwale were spearheaded by Cabinet ministers Fred Gumo and Wycliffe Oparanya.