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ODM de-whips seven city MCAs over Imwatok ouster

By Josphat Thiongó | May 27th 2021
ODM Chairman John Mbadi [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party chairman John Mbadi has waded into the supremacy wrangles rocking the Nairobi County Assembly.

Mbadi has ordered the removal of seven MCAs involved in the ouster of minority whip Peter Imwatok during a special sitting last week.

In a letter to the assembly, he called on besieged Imwatok to take action against the seven for going against the party position and acting contrary to party instructions.

"As the party pursues avenues in resolving issues bedevilling the minority party in the assembly, you are hereby instructed to discharge the following members from all committees until such a time to be communicated by my office," read the letter in part dated May 26, 2021.

The seven members include Lower Savannah MCA Nicholas Okumu, named interim minority whip last week, Kennedy Oyugi (Highrise), Clarence Munga (Kabiro) and Fredrick Omondi (Kayole Central).

Others are MCA Jared Okode (Mathare North), Redson Otieno (Ngei) and Maurice Gari (Nairobi West).

The rebel MCAs have been accused of going against the Raila Odinga-led party and causing division in the assembly.

During a special sitting last week, they engineered the ouster of Imwatok in changes communicated by session speaker John Kamangu. 

They installed Lower Savannah MCA Nicholas Okumu as interim minority leader pending consultations with the party. They had accused Imwatok of “tarnishing the image of the party by abusing his position for selfish gain.”

The development comes against the backdrop of another letter by ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna who castigated actions of the MCAs and change of leadership.

In a letter to Speaker Benson Mutura, Sifuna said the party had not sanctioned the changes and that he was conducting a probe into the actions of his members but requested that the status quo remains.

“Kindly note that the party has not made any changes to the leadership and the same did not originate from us,” Sifuna wrote.

This comes even as the rebel MCAs plan to amend the assembly standing orders to rob political parties of the power to appoint minority and majority leaders and bestow it unto themselves.

A letter by MCA Oyugi to the speaker revealed that there was a push to delete standing orders numbers 20 and 21. The changes are aimed at making the process of removing a leader complex and also make it difficult for political parties to hold accountable members that go against the party position.

If effected, the changes will have MCAs chose their leaders and not seek the approval of their political parties. The proposals have been sent to the Procedure and Rules committee.

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