There is a political rebellion in ODM even as Raila and Uhuru’s BBI gets passed by the Senate.
In what is further fuelling the charge that they are fomenting a rebellion against the ODM party hierarchy, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya yesterday held a two-hour closed door meeting.
The three have openly defied ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s support for the 70 new constituencies proposed for creation in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional amendments.
Before proceeding to the Governor’s Mabole home for the meeting, Mr Orengo and Mr Amollo flew to Butere in a chopper and joined Mr Oparanya for a church service at St Benedict Catholic Church, Mukoye. They later left without briefing the media.
The trio accused while at the church some unnamed politicians of “misleading party leader Raila Odinga for their selfish political gains”. They maintained, however, that they still support the party.
They cautioned Mr Odinga to be “wary of people who want to ruin the party’s chances of forming the next government”, but did not substantiate their claims.
According to the trio, they said they would not be intimidated for expressing divergent opinion, despite facing accusations of stirring division and failing to heed to the party position.
“We’re in ODM by faith and Mr Odinga is our unequivocal leader. However, we won’t allow a few people to deceive him,” said Mr Amollo, while addressing the congregants.
Currently, all eyes are trained on the trio for their open and uncharacteristic rebellion against the party position. The party leadership sent a warning shot to the rebels, Mr Amollo was last week axed from the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee where he represented ODM.
However, ODM later issued a statement clarifying that it did not have plans to oust Mr Orengo as Minority Leader in the Senate.
Coming as a surprise and quite remarkable turn, Senator Orengo co-chaired the committee that produced the final BBI amendments.
Again making his opposition to BBI significant, as ODM deputy party leader, Mr Oparanya has been Mr Odinga’s reliable ally. The three have been captured on camera voicing their opposition to creation of 70 new constituencies. ODM chairman John Mbadi and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi have repeatedly questioned the rebels’ loyalty.
“We hope the handshake is not meant to dupe Mr Odinga,” the Rarieda MP said in his church address yesterday.
Mr Oparanya said the handshake had brought peace in the country and asked President Kenyatta to return the favour come next year’s General Election by backing his presidential bid.
“After completing my two terms as a governor, I’ve also presented myself to contest for the country’s top seat on the ODM party ticket,” he said.
As one of the founders of ODM, Mr Oparanya said he can’t run away from the party and will continue consolidating his support ahead of the 2022 polls.
“There’s no enmity in politics. I’ve engaged Deputy President William Ruto to support my bid and will also look for other candidates like (Wiper party leader) Kalonzo Musyoka and (Kanu leader) Gideon Moi, among others, to improve my chances,” he said.
The Kakamega Governor said he will work with Mr Orengo and Mr Otiende who, he noted, are critical players in the Orange party.
Mr Orengo encouraged the governor to seek like-minded politicians’ support to boost his chances of clinching the presidency.
“As a deputy party leader, you have the authority to talk to everyone as you look to strengthening the party,” he said.
Instead of attempting to rock the boat from within, two ODM legislators on Saturday dared Mr Orengo and Mr Otiende to lead campaigns against the BBI constitutional amendments.
Mr Wandayi and MP Gideon Ochanda of Bondo blamed the two for misleading the community on the projected gains as proposed by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“The making of the Constitution is a matter of give and take. As we make negotiations, we must be prepared to compromise on some issues as we gain on others,” Mr Wandayi said.
The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee chairman noted that the push by the two to have the BBI amended before it is passed in Parliament was going against the party position.
Mr Wandayi reiterated the need for the community to rally behind the ODM party leader, who has steered them since the introduction of multi-party politics.
“We only have one leader and once we get directions from our party boss, we have no choice but to rally our supporters behind him in order to achieve the greater goal,” he said.
The MP further said it was disrespectful for the two to defy President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s appeals for MPs to pass the supreme law without amending contentious clauses in the BBI. He was speaking in Siaya.
As the country prepares for a general election next year, Mr Ochanda said there is need for party members to respect what the ODM top leadership has resolved for them to emerge stronger.