Raila's Orange party crisis meeting put off

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna (centre), Executive Director Oduor Ogwen (left) and Strategist Koitamet Olekina during a press conference at Orange House in Nairobi on March 29th, 2018. (Jenipher Wachie, Standard)
Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s planned crisis meeting to end power struggle within the ODM party flopped at the last minute.

This, as it emerged that some of the party officials could have deliberately sabotaged the session by failing to send out invites to members of the Central Management Committee.

The Standard has learnt that Raila – who had turned up for the meeting – was infuriated by the development after some of the members of the top organ said they received invites yesterday at around 11am.

End wrangles

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The meeting was convened to end wrangles in the Nairobi County Assembly that has escalated to a power struggle between the party National Chairman John Mbadi and Secretary General Edwin Sifuna.

“Some of us received invites from the party Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen around 11am today (yesterday). We feel it was deliberate to lock out certain individuals from turning up for the meeting,” said the source.

Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and ODM political affairs secretary Opiyo Wandayi – both members of the organ – were out of Nairobi, with Wandayi being in Pretoria, South Africa.

Sifuna and Ong’wen turned up for the meeting before Raila rescheduled it to next week Tuesday.

Another source disclosed that the plot was to lock out officials opposed to the status quo at the Nairobi County Assembly.

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“The meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday. Raila was already around,” Mbadi said last evening, but declined to comment further on what could have occasioned the postponement.

Sifuna and Ong’wen are against Mbadi over his decision to replace the Assembly’s Minority leader Elias Okumu (Kileleshwa MCA) and Peter Imwatok (Minority Whip) with Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi and Savannah’s Nicholas Okumu as Minority Leader and Whip respectively.  This, as it emerged that the decision to replace the two was as a result of the chaotic impeachment of Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Reports indicate that Raila tried to stop ODM MCAs from taking part in the Motion, but Okumu and Imwatok defied him, prompting the party to kick them from the plum positions.

It has further emerged that the House leadership de-whipped MCAs who opposed the impeachment from assembly committees.

On Tuesday, Sifuna wrote to Nairobi Speaker Chege Mwaura, directing him to ignore communications by the National Assembly Minority Leader, in what escalated the wrangles.

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He stated that he was the one mandated to communicate on behalf of the party, contradicting Mbadi's letter to the Speaker that stated that his letter overrode any other communication from the party.

“I write to you as the spokesperson, authorised principal officer and the person mandated by the Constitution of the party to issue correspondence on behalf of the party and all its organs,” reads Mbadi's letter.

Internal resolutions

But Mbadi maintained that as the party continues with its internal resolutions to reconcile the MCAs, Oyugi and Okumu remain the Minority Leader and Minority Whip respectively “unless and until advised otherwise.”

“As previously reiterated, the decision made by the ODM party emanated from the request of the membership of Nairobi County Assembly, which was endorsed by the party after deliberations in compliance with ODM Party Constitution,” said Mbadi.

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ODMRaila Odinga