alexa Raila dares ODM rebels to quit - Daily Nation

Raila dares ODM rebels to quit

Friday November 26 2010

STEPHEN MUDIARI | Nation Prime Minister Raila Odinga holds Shakim Nyaboke, a pupil from Vision Junior Academy in Kiang’ombe after the ODM National Governing Council meeting at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, on Friday. He told discontented party members that ODM has the numbers to replace them.

STEPHEN MUDIARI | Nation Prime Minister Raila Odinga holds Shakim Nyaboke, a pupil from Vision Junior Academy in Kiang’ombe after the ODM National Governing Council meeting at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, on Friday. He told discontented party members that ODM has the numbers to replace them.  

By LUCAS BARASA [email protected]

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has told ODM rebels to leave the party with a rider that they will be replaced immediately.

He put the renegades, widely seen to be led by Eldoret North MP William Ruto on notice, saying they will not hold ODM at ransom.

Without naming anyone, the ODM leader warned the want-away MPs that the party has the numbers to replace them.

“ODM is a mass party, if one wants to go let him go. Orange members cannot be intimidated or shaken. We cannot coerce anyone to remain. The party belongs to members,” Mr Odinga said.

“Even Raila Odinga can leave and ODM will still exist. The party is moving forward. We know where we are coming from and are sure we will get where we want,” he added during the party’s National Governing Council meeting at the Bomas of Kenya, on Friday.

He announced that ODM will kick off its grassroots elections in January, which will see rebel MPs replaced in a bid to strengthen the party ahead of the 2012 General Election.

Advertisement

Likening ODM to a lion amid chants of “ODM chungwa” and “ODM maisha bora”, Mr Odinga said the effort to rebuild the party will see the rebels replaced immediately.

He added that ODM’s popularity had grown in Central and Eastern where it performed dismally in 2007.

“We want to look forward and re-energise the party. If we remain united, no one will defeat us.” Mr Odinga said he will open party branch offices in all the 47 counties before the end of the year.

Last month, Mr Ruto’s supporters threatened to walk out of ODM and join another party that will be Mr Ruto’s vehicle in the next elections.

The Eldoret North MP has differed with Mr Odinga over the trial of post-election violence suspects, the reclamation of Mau Forest and his suspension from Cabinet.

On Friday, Mr Odinga also hit out at Mr Ruto for going round the country thanking people for opposing the new Constitution “while he was defeated”.

Clinch the presidency

He said ODM was the party to beat in 2012.

ODM co-deputy leader Musalia Mudavadi accused some people of trying to push ODM to break into small factions.

He said the party has to learn from past experiences where leaders who only relied on votes from their regions failed to win clinch the presidency.

“We should not fall into same trap, which comes every election time,” Mr Mudavadi said.

Chairman Henry Kosgey said ODM members should not accept to be divided by anyone.