Ford Kenya wrangles ignite ugly war of words between ODM and ANC

The leadership wrangles bedevilling Ford Kenya Party have spiralled into a full-blown war of words between ODM and ANC which now casts doubt in the survival of whatever is left of the NASA Coalition.

It all began with a Sunday statement from ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi who accused “a NASA affiliate party leader” and Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) boss” of masterminding the removal of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula as Ford Kenya party leader.

“I am aware that this mischief has been in the making for some time now. It is calculated to invade and destabilise all independent-minded political parties,” said Mudavadi in a statement.

“The mischief has been escalated at a number of meetings led by the leader of a NASA member party, whose objective is to destroy and dominate everyone. In this, they are aided by Secretary-General of Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu).

What followed was a scathing rejoinder from ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna who accused Musalia of dragging ODM into the troubles of Ford Kenya party.

“Our attention has been caught by his reference to “the leader of a NASA party” as being behind the changes that have been carried out in a party that should neither concern us nor him. It is a poorly disguised attempt to once again lay blame on ODM and its leader for Mudavadi and his friends' shortcomings,” Sifuna said in a statement.

Mr Sifuna faulted the ANC leader for referring to the team of delegates which sat in the Ford Kenya’s National Executive Council as “quislings.” This he said exposed Musalia’s misunderstanding of what had transpired in the Ford Kenya party.  He said that Musalia ought to have taken time to understand and internalise the reasons behind the decision which was reached by the NEC.

That Musalia failed to name those whom he accused of meddling in the affairs of Ford Kenya; Sifuna said is a depiction that he is a coward. The ODM official claimed that Musalia is a known beneficiary of political overtures of other leaders and has been using that for survival.

He said: “Mudavadi in 2002 chose Kanu over NARC and UDF over ODM in 2013, with disastrous results, but still within his rights. He has no right to lecture anyone on political choices, given the catalogue of failures from his own choices since 2002, and from which he has been politically saved countless times by the “leader of a NASA party”.”

The lawyer also defended Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli from Musalia’s allegation that the trade unionist was behind the polarisation of Luhya leaders and the cracks in Ford Kenya Party.

Sifuna said that Musalia had in the past benefitted from the political mobilisations of Cotu boss, and had no moral authority to correct Atwoli.

“As usual, Mr Mudavadi prefers to be the hyena that follows a man, hoping his hands will fall. The same way he sat pretty as Atwoli organised everything to make him the “Luhya Spokesman”, which gave him his current political profile, is the exact way Atwoli would push the same resources and clout behind more capable people,” Sifuna argued.

The war of words comes after a stalemate following leadership wrangles that emerged yesterday pitting two factions of Ford Kenya leaders.

A NEC meeting sat at Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi and resolved to remove Wetangula as the Ford Kenya party leader on grounds of gross misconduct and inability to lead the party. This faction was led by Tongaren MP and party’s Secretary-General Dr Eseli Simiyu and Busia Governor Wycliffe Wangamati. They replaced Bungoma legislator with Kanduyti MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.

Barely two hours after that, Bungoma legislator addressed a press conference at party headquarters to reaffirm his occupancy of party leader position. Wetangula turned tables by suspending Dr Simiyu and replacing him with Kiminini MP Dr Chris Wamalwa.

The Standard
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