The conduct of MPs allied to ODM leader Raila Odinga was the main agenda at the party’s top brass meeting yesterday.
The central management committee conference, chaired by Raila, sought to address, among other things, party discipline, books of accounts, and review a disciplinary team report on pending cases.
The committee comprises Raila, chairman John Mbadi, secretary general Edwin Sifuna, organising secretary Abdikadir Aden, treasurer Timothy Bosire, political affairs secretary Opiyo Wandayi, parliamentary group secretary Gladys Wanga and director of elections Junet Mohamed.
Of concern was the growing discontent and rebellion exhibited by party members during the passage of the Bill on value added tax on petroleum products contained in a memo by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
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Although the Bill was passed, some ODM members defied the party’s position that was spearheaded by National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi.
“There is a feeling that if the rebellion is not checked, the party will not be strong. Party loyalty and discipline must be enforced,” said a source privy to the meeting.
The source added that the leadership was particularly unhappy with Siaya Senator James Orengo’s defiance.
According to the source, Mr Orengo had told MPs to reject Uhuru’s memorandum on grounds that it would not only affect ordinary Kenyans but manufacturers as well. This even as he threatened to go to court to challenge the Bill should it become law.
During a Press briefing at his Parliament office, the lawyer and close Raila ally, claimed that Uhuru did not reduce the tax by half but instead increased it by eight per cent because MPs had already zero-rated petroleum.
“The buck will stop with Parliament and not the President. I appeal to the National Assembly to reject the reservations by the President in total. I want to remind ourselves that Parliament does not represent the Executive and neither is it an extension of the Executive,” he had said.
Orengo, however, said yesterday he was not aware of the decision to crack the whip on those who defied the party’s position on the Finance Bill passed last week. “I’m a member of the central committee and I’m not aware of that,” said Orengo, who is in Uasin Gishu for the Senate Mashinani sittings.
Mr Sifuna said the meeting had been scheduled ‘a while back’ to look at the books of accounts and make public how funds disbursed from the Political Parties Fund were used in the last financial year.
The party officials mandated with the day-to-day running of the party also discussed upcoming by-elections in Migori and Ugenya.