Raila Odinga weighs in on Ababu Namwamba exit reports
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga has weighed in on the raging discussion on the future of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary General and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.
Speaking at a rally in Busia on Monday, Raila said that ODM was a party that promotes democracy, adding that Ababu’s concerns about party affairs were valid and will be addressed during the National Executive Council sitting on Wednesday.
“ODM is a party that upholds democracy and has no space for dictatorship. Those saying otherwise are misguided,” he said.
“There may be people within ODM who feel aggrieved by one or two issues, and it is within their rights to express them. The issues raised by Ababu are valid and will be discussed during our council meeting on Wednesday, but he still is the party’s Secretary General,” said Raila amid cheers from the crowd.
The ODM leader encouraged legislators within ODM to freely air their concerns as this would build trust and unity within the party.
“If you are in ODM and you feel pinched, it is okay to scratch yourself and if you feel like coughing then do so, so that we can move forward as a united party,” he said.
Raila was speaking at a rally held in support of county women representative Florence Mutua who was among the eight legislators detained two weeks ago over hate speech. Mutua was held for four days at Muthaiga Police cell alongside Kilifi Women Representative Aisha Jumwa.
Other CORD legislators who were detained are MPs Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) and Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama. Jubilee MPs Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) were also in the Pangani Police cell alongside their CORD counterparts.
Ababu was among nine MPs from Western who last week claimed they felt alienated by ODM hierarchy.
The leaders further called for reforms within the party, including improvements in the nomination process to make the procedure fair and transparent.
Ababu has been under attack since the presser last week, with some leaders within the party claiming he had been bribed to ditch ODM for Jubilee.
The leaders linked the Budalang’i MP with a move to Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) which belongs to Julia Ojiambo, who was CORD Co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka’s running mate in 2007 presidential elections. They both denied the claims in an interview with a local newspaper.
In the TV interview, Ababu claimed that he was being targeted by some forces within ODM because of the position he holds and the reforms he wants to bring to the party.
“I was among the people who founded ODM, and I am a defender of the party in and out of Parliament. We should stop giving people names and spreading rumours that they are ditching a party, just because they have different goals.”
He refuted claims that he was positioning himself to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 presidential elections, saying Jubilee had able leaders who could hold the position.
“The reports claiming I am planning to be DP Ruto’s running mate in 2022 are false and preposterous. It is not surprising that such rumours only emerged after I took up the SG position.”
“Kenyan leaders have the right to relate with those from different outfits, and therefore just as I know Raila speaks to President Uhuru Kenyatta from time to time – there is no problem with Ababu and Ruto, or any other leader for that matter, to talk for the sake of development.”
Despite the exit reports, Ababu remained adamant that he would not part ways with ODM, saying he knows his ability and what he can do to better ODM.
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