Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula once said he wanted a "noisy and messy" divorce from Nasa. He is getting one.
After going on TV to expose what happened on January 30 when opposition leaders failed to turn up for the mock swearing-in, he has attracted the wrath of the Orange Democratic Movement which has come out in strength to confront him.
Angry MPs allied to Nasa leader Raila Odinga, most of them from ODM, on Wednesday rubbished as “childish” Mr Wetang’ula’s suggestion that Mr Odinga is a dictator, intolerant of other opinions and impatient with opposing views.
Led by National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi, the MPs told Mr Wetang’ula that he should be the “last person” to talk about betrayal.
MISERABLE POLITICAL LIFE
“We have baby-sat Wetang’ula for a long time and given him the title of a principal which he does not deserve at all. We are warning him that he should stop dragging the name of Raila Odinga into his miserable political life and move on,” Mr Mbadi, accompanied by 13 other MPs, told journalists in Parliament.
“Throwing tantrums like a baby will not help him; we gave him the opportunity to lead only 28 senators as the Leader of Minority, but he failed. He is bitter because he lost the perks of his previous office,” he said.
In an extensive interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Mr Wetang’ula painted Mr Odinga as a politician with a rich history of rocking parties from within, saying the March 9 deal between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta was just part of a wider scheme to create cracks within the ruling party.
The Bungoma senator drove the public down memory lane, reminding them of the merger between Mr Odinga’s NDP and retired President Daniel arap Moi’s Kanu, where he said the Nasa leader left with a good number of Mr Moi’s allies and later formed the National Rainbow Coalition.
Mr Odinga then used the new outfit to oust the ruling party from power and made Democratic Party’s Mwai Kibaki President in a landslide election victory against Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Raila went on and rocked NARC and later formed ODM. This has been the trend as he went on after joining CORD and said people were tired and wanted a change and that we should switch to Nasa. He has a history of rocking parties,” said Mr Wetang’ula.
While he maintained that he was still in Nasa, Mr Wetang’ula described the outfit as "moribund", saying “I am not in Nasa by heart, I am just bound by law. I have said my political journey with Raila Odinga is over and I stand by that!” He said.
Seemingly supportive of Deputy President William Ruto’s sentiments, Mr Wetang’ula said that Kenyans should be led by a president who is not from Kenya’s famous political families; the Odingas, the Kenyattas and the Mois.
“In a democratic dispensation, we do not want the State machinery manipulating politics to a level where you think if you do not come from these families, your ability to lead diminishes,” he said.
Mr Wetang’ula has already declared that he will be going for the top seat in 2022, but in the interview, was non-committal on whether he will be working with the Deputy President in his quest.
Mr Wetang’ula revisited the betrayal debate after Mr Odinga’s January 30 swearing-in as the “people’s president” at a function which Mr Wetang’ula, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, and Musalia Mudavadi of the Amani National Congress skipped. While he dismissed the event as “not useful”, the senator insisted that Mr Odinga had betrayed them by going to Uhuru Park without informing them.
“Raila gave us a Nigerian number which we were to communicate with. He called us and told us to go to a safe house, then changed and asked us not to go because it had been bugged. When we were still waiting somewhere, we saw him at Uhuru Park,” said the Ford Kenya leader.
But in Parliament, Mr Mbadi dismissed the statement. “Mr Wetang'ula lacks the political clout to be consulted on matters of national unity, economic growth, strengthening of devolution and reforms. To claim that Raila betrayed him is misplaced,” he said.
In the interview, Mr Wetang’ula said the process of merging Ford Kenya and Mr Mudavadi’s ANC was on course citing progress reports received from chairman Boni Khalwale and ANC Secretary-General Barack Muluka.
Additional reporting by Patrick Lang’at