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Jakoyo Midiwo warns ODM leaders for scaring away Raila's supporters

By Harold Odhiambo and John Oywa | Jul 26th 2016 | 3 min read
Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo. Yesterday he criticised some ODM operatives for scaring away supporters from other communities as a trade unionist attacked selfish Luhya leaders. (PHOTO: FILE/ STANDARD)

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo yesterday criticised some ODM operatives for scaring away supporters from other communities as a trade unionist attacked selfish Luhya leaders.

Mr Midiwo, who is also National Assembly deputy leader of minority, told ODM leaders to mind their language and conduct if they wanted party leader Raila Odinga to ascend to the presidency in 2017.

"There is no room for chest-thumping and making reckless statements any more. We must change tack and sweet-talk our neighbours and even opponents to help us take Mr Odinga to State House," said Midiwo.

He spoke as Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli lashed out at Luhya leaders claiming they had lost political direction.

He said the leaders no longer had the interest of the community at heart, but were blindly joining political outfits for selfish gains.

Addressing the secretaries general of trade unions registered under Cotu in Kisumu yesterday, Mr Atwoli labelled Luhya leaders political puppets.

He blamed the political uneasiness among the Luhya leaders on their failure to make good and timely decisions.

Atwoli wondered why some Luhya leaders were rushing to join the Government, yet the region had been ignored by successive regimes.

"The Luhya community has become an easy target. Our leaders are very easy to dupe. There is no development in the region, but some leaders are coming out and confessing that they are going to join the Government," said Atwoli.

He said it was wrong for Luhya leaders to join Jubilee when most roads in the region were in poor condition.

And Midiwo acknowledged many ODM leaders were worried about the forthcoming primaries, even after Raila had given an assurance that the nominations will be free and fair.

It is such fears, he said, that had made Funyula MP Paul Otuoma to threaten to quit the party.

"Mr Otuoma felt he may not get the ODM ticket to vie for the Busia gubernatorial seat because the current governor Sospeter Ojaamong is a close friend of Mr Odinga. As ODM leaders, we must convince people like Otuoma that Mr Odinga will not interfere in the nominations," said Midiwo.

Speaking in a local vernacular radio station yesterday, Midiwo warned that the party will not issue any direct nominations in 2017.

"I have heard some governors asking for favours. It will not happen. Mr Odinga has made it clear it will be everyone for himself."

Deputy President William Ruto last week said some Luhya leaders, including Budalang'i MP and immediate former ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, were heading to the Jubilee Alliance Party after falling out with the opposition. Mr Ruto attributed the many defections from ODM to his efforts.

Mr Namwamba later denied Mr Ruto's claims, saying he was not joining the Government.

Otuoma has also resigned as ODM vice chairman and said he and Namwamba could soon form a new outfit.

Last week, CORD co-principal and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula also showed signs of dumping the coalition after he ruled out Raila's presidential bid.

Atwoli accused the leaders of taking for granted the people who voted them to Parliament by not standing up for them.

He urged the leaders to unite the community to enable the community to develop and have its own identity.

"Other communities like the Luo and the Kamba have their notable leaders and are united but our leaders are focused on their own personal interests,' said Atwoli.

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