Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seven ODM MPs back Namwamba for party post

Ababu Namwamba confers with Raila Odinga during a Cord parliamentary group meeting at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha on February 10, 2014. Seven ODM MPs, most from the former Nyanza Province, have accused the team led by Senator Otieno Kajwang’ of causing discontent within the Orange Democratic Movement by alleging that some members are disloyal.Suleiman Mbatiah

Ababu Namwamba confers with Raila Odinga during a Cord parliamentary group meeting at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha on February 10, 2014. Seven ODM MPs, most from the former Nyanza Province, have accused the team led by Senator Otieno Kajwang’ of causing discontent within the Orange Democratic Movement by alleging that some members are disloyal.Suleiman Mbatiah 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Seven ODM MPs, most from the former Nyanza Province, have accused the team led by Senator Otieno Kajwang’ of causing discontent within the Orange Democratic Movement by alleging that some members are disloyal.

Speaking at a press conference at Parliament Buildings, the MPs led by Ken Obura (Kisumu Central) also declared they would support Ababu Namwamba in his bid to become secretary-general of the ODM.

Mr Namwamba is in the race for the post with Nominated Senator Dr Agnes Zani, whose team also has Mr Kajwang, who is vying for the deputy chairman’s post and Paul Otuoma, who wants to become chairman.

“This branding by Team Kajwang that anybody who is not supporting their team is disloyal to the party…we’ll not take it anymore. You can see what it is doing to the party, you can see what it has done to the Coast Parliamentary group and recently they attacked Ababu,” said Mr Obura.

He was accompanied by David Ochieng (Ugenya), George Oner (Rangwe), Millie Odhiambo (Suba), Ken Okoth (Kibra), Agostino Neto (Ndhiwa) and Silvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul).

Mr Namwamba’s candidature appears to have rubbed some in the party the wrong way as it is said to conflict with the line-up preferred by party leader Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister.

Mr Odinga has however maintained that he has no preferred candidates or list and would instead prefer that candidates seek for votes without suggesting that they have his blessings.

“On the issue of party loyalty, he indicated categorically that members should restrain from creating discord in the party by branding members as disloyal without any proof,” said Mr Obura, who read his colleagues’ statement.

It is reported that the claims of disloyalty were made by Mr Kajwang and the matter blew up behind closed doors when ODM had a meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge before the larger Cord gathering.

On Wednesday, the MPs said Mr Namwamba “has worked tirelessly for the party and has stood as a distinguished Generali.”

They said he helped in the campaigns ahead of the General Election last year in formations such as Reloaded and Tuko Tayari as well as pushing the party’s agenda in the National Assembly.

Mr Ochieng said Mr Kajwang is among people who have in the past claimed that they had Mr Odinga’s support to get positions within the party.

Ms Odhiambo added: “We don’t want people who are discouraging party members. Everybody has a right to choose and support any candidate of their choice so what we are against is people who are trying to threaten others by misleading the public that there are certain sacred cows.”

Mr Namwamba also appeared to have the support of some MPs from the Coast, who ran into the group led by Mr Obura as they emerged from their own meeting.

Kilifi County MP, Aisha Jumwa said the Coast Members of the National Assembly would rally behind Mr Namwamba.

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