The intrigues that characterised the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) meetings last week, including persistent calls for opposition leader Raila Odinga to divorce his co-principals, and the open exchanges between Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho can be revealed.
Sources who attended the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Governing Council (NGC) meetings held on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and chaired by Mr Odinga, gave a blow-by-blow account of the deliberations, with the delegates openly questioning Mr Odinga’s continued engagement with Mr Musyoka and the two other co-principals, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula.
The Nation learnt that a section of the delegates left the Friday meeting disenchanted after Mr Odinga literally blocked them from ventilating their views on the party’s continued engagement with Wiper, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya.
Mr Odinga blocked the discussion on grounds that it was not part of the agenda and that the NGC was the wrong forum to discuss such a serious matter.
“You must see this coalition like a large traditional family where there are varying interests and sibling rivalries. You must also see it as a marriage. Not all marriages are blissful,” a source quoted Mr Odinga as telling the agitated delegates.
Mr Odinga insisted that it was too early to make such a major decision and called for patience on the part of the members
Instead, Mr Odinga set up a task force to audit the relationship among the coalition partners and recommend appropriate cause of action that will advance the interests of the Orange party.
An agitated Wiper Party deputy secretary-general Peter Mathuki on Saturday challenged ODM to openly declare whether it will honour the agreements signed in Nasa for the 2022 General Election.
“We still have other options,” Mr Mathuki warned. “They’re saying they’ll go it alone if they are pushed. But who is pushing them? We want the deal to be honoured. They are being pushed by their personal interests. Why is it that they are being pushed when time comes for them to support the other principals?”
“What we are seeing is that they’ve taken our 10 years of supporting them for granted. They need to come out clear, and then we will know who is honest, and who is not,” he said.
The ODM delegates who spoke during the NGC on Friday described the three partners as a burden to the party’s survival; that they are not sufficiently contributing to the cause for electoral justice arising from last year’s presidential election.
They cited the failure by the three – Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula – to show up at Uhuru Park for the mock “swearing-in” ceremony.
“The feeling of the rank and file of the party is that the three are backtracking from the main cause, without mustering the courage to say so,” a source who attended the meeting said.
“I will not just sit here and listen to people call you a conman and keep quiet. How should I react when my party leader is called a conman? Should I keep quiet as if nothing happened? The fact is that our partners are fighting ODM. Don’t force these people on us,” said a Mr Nabii Nabwera, a member of the NGC from Kakamega county.
He was referring to media reports that Mr Mudavadi had told Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli that Mr Odinga had sidestepped them and gone to Uhuru Park for the “swearing-in” ceremony alone.
Mr Nabwera went on: “If your wife wants to desert you, she starts by cheating on you with your neighbour. The point is to make you angry so that she gets the excuse to leave. What we are asking you is to let us ask our partners to leave so that we can re-organise our house.”
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati asked Mr Odinga to be courageous enough and disentangle the party from any deal that does not advance their interests.
“We do not need to be 300 MPs to be effective or to fight for our cause,” the source quotes the MP as telling Mr Odinga. “You can see what [Julius] Malema is doing in South Africa. He has only 27 members in the House but they are effective. They have contributed a lot in bringing [Jacob] Zuma down,” he said .
Mr Joho asked the delegates to remain focused on ODM’s ultimate goal of ascending to power and stop wasting time on the other coalition partners.
“I am going to repeat the name ODM so many times that, in the end, all of you will leave here with only one thing in your head: The only party is ODM.”