John Mbadi: Leave ODM chair post for who? I am here to stay

Suba South MP John Mbadi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

ODM national chairman John Mbadi has vowed to stay put, even as some party officials in Nyanza insist he should relinquish his post.

A number of ODM officials in Nyanza, including Siaya branch chair Mr George Okanda, the Suba North Constituency chairperson Mr Narkiso Tuko and Kisumu Woman Rep Ms Rosa Buyu have said Mr Mbadi should not continue holding the position after making comments likely to bar the success of ODM candidates in the August 9 polls.

Mr Tuko said Mr Mbadi was tired of serving the party as its chairperson. “I urge Mbadi to resign as the party chairman because it seems he has lost confidence in serving the party,” Tuko said.

But Mr Mbadi, when he met Suba South residents in Sindo Township, said he would not resign. “It is wrong for some people to sit somewhere to demand that I resign. Where do they want me to go? Did they elect me to be the party chairman? Let them shut up; I am in this seat to stay,” Mr Mbadi said.

The Suba South MP said he was misunderstood after telling ODM candidates the truth about their performance in campaigns. Mr Mbadi said some ODM candidates, for merely having the certificates, were chest-thumping and disregarding independent and other Azimio party candidates, which he said might jeopardise the party’s success.

He called for humility. “Like a father of ODM candidates, I have to tell my party candidates the truth and advise them accordingly. Voters are enlightened and cannot be coerced to vote six-piece,” Mr Mbadi said.

Mr Mbadi, who is leading the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition flag bearer Raila Odinga’s campaign in Nyanza, said: “Azimio is a coalition that needs everybody on board. I cannot discriminate against candidates of other parties because Raila needs every vote in this region.”

Azimio affiliate parties that have fielded candidates in the region include Kanu, Jubilee, UGM, UDM, DAP-Kenya and MDG.

Mbadi’s comments show a paradigm shift in Nyanza’s political landscape. In previous polls, a candidate could stop campaigning after securing an ODM ticket and comfortably win a seat in the a general election.