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Grand Coalition split as ODM fights back

Monday January 17 2011

Deputy Prime Minister and ODM Deputy Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

Deputy Prime Minister and ODM Deputy Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE 

By CAROLINE WAFULA

A split has emerged in the Grand Coalition government with one of the main partners - Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) - coming out to dispute recent state actions in regard to the Kenya case at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A Press conference addressed by an ODM deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi on Monday alleged a smear campaign designed to discredit the party leadership for political gains.

The party defended its leader - Prime Minister Raila Odinga - saying that he has been a victim of self-serving political threats based on unfounded allegations and "meticulous lies".

“Since the formation of the coalition Government, a small group of MPs have continued to make one illogical allegation after another meant to smear the ODM and undermine the party leadership,” the statement said.
Mr Mudavadi, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, also dismissed claims that the Cabinet had resolved to have Kenya pull out of the ICC process stating that no such move has been taken.

“Whoever is pushing this agenda is not doing it for the coalition Government but as a partisan and personal agenda,” the party said.
The ODM deputy party leader further addressed repeated threats by disgruntled members to quit saying it was a manifestation of panic and fright owing to the forthcoming grassroots elections.

He termed it ridiculous for some members of the party to claim that Prime Minister was behind ‘The Ocampo Six’ list.

ICC chief prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo in December applied to judges at The Hague seeking to indict six Kenyans who he deems most culpable for the post election violence that rocked the country following disputed presidential elections at the end of 2007. The chaos left more than 1,000 dead and over 650,000 displaced, some of who are still living in camps.

The six include Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, head of civil service Francis Muthaura, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, suspended Industrialisation Minister and ODM chairman Henry Kosgey, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and radio presenter Julius Sang. Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey were suspended from the Cabinet in unrelated matters after corruption charges were brought against them in court.

Sustained Propaganda

The ODM party issued a statement in which it addressed recent developments in the country, among them The Hague process and the sour relations among its members.

“There has been a sustained propaganda campaign by some leaders determined to create the impression that the PM is the one taking people to The Hague and that in some way, he decided who got into The Hague list and who did not. Could ODM have connived to convict its own really,” Mr Mudavadi posed.

Mr Mudavadi, accompanied by 15 party MPs, termed the argument as political deception, arguing that it would serve no political gains for ODM to decide to sacrifice two key officials - its deputy leader and national chairman.

“In the likelihood that reports were made by parties about post-election violence, which culprit is likely to have adversely condemned those ODM officials?” he asked.

Mr Mudavadi said the PM had right from the beginning backed the formation of a local tribunal to bring perpetrators of the violence to justice.

“The PM had the presence of mind to warn that subjecting our people to trials at The Hague would be expensive to our standing as a nation. The same few MPs now framing him are the same ones who accused him of seeking a local process so as to punish the youths who fought for him,” the DPM said.

“They said a local process would not net the masterminds or render justice in a fair manner,” he said, recalling several failed attempts to establish a Special Tribunal to try post-election violence suspects locally.

Mischief

The party has appealed to Kenyans to read mischief and lack of principle in statements made by "people who peddle fiction instead of fact", claiming that the main intention was to throw the country in a state of panic and sabotage the implementation of the new Constitution.

Further, he said it was fraudulent, impunity and immoral for the disgruntled members to continue to draw a salary in the name of a party they no longer believe in.

“They should not fear elections, those who expect positions through intimidation undermine democracy,” he stated.

“It is also a serious display of poor judgment and resolve and lack of principle for a party member to threaten departure which never occurs. Three years is a long time to be packing belongings while issuing threats to a spouse,” he said.