Sibling rivalry as ODM leaders accuse each other of 'political immorality'


When ODM leader Raila Odinga endorsed John Mbadi during a delegates meeting in a hotel in Suba South Constituency. [James Omoro, Standard]

A group of ODM leaders have accused their colleagues of engaging in dirty and premature politics in party leader Raila Odinga's succession scramble.

This is happening as sibling rivalries in Raila's camp intensify with several leaders hopeful of strengthening their political influence keen to rally support to step into Raila's big boots.

ODM National chairman John Mbadi, Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino, his counterparts James Nyikal (Seme) and Otiende Amolo (Rarieda) said Raila is still the leader of ODM and described the succession undercurrents as premature.

Speaking during a symposium organised by Owino to promote education in Ndhiwa Constituency, Mbadi said it is immoral to start a discourse for succeeding Odinga.

Mbadi argued that any plans for succeeding Odinga this time amounted to disrespecting him.

"It is immoral and disrespectful for any leader in ODM to start a plan for discussing how to succeed Raila. Raila is still in power as the ODM leader," Mbadi said.

He said ODM has no vacuum and nobody should cause any confusion in the party leadership.

"We have a leadership structure in ODM hence nobody should cause any confusion in the party," Mbadi said.

He urged all leaders who want positions in the ODM to wait for the party's grassroots elections shortly.

"Our party grassroots elections are impending. Let anybody who wants a position in the party wait for the election," Mbadi said.

Already, former Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa), MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Minority Leader in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi are all optimistic of eclipsing their colleagues to inherit the opposition.

A number of ODM members have lined up strategically behind them and are praising their credentials and mettle to succeed Raila.

Wanga compared those who want to succeed the ODM leader to a woman who opts for another marriage because her husband has gone to look for a job elsewhere.

"People must be patient because even a woman cannot seek a new marriage because her husband has gone to look for a job somewhere," Wanga said.

She said Raila will still be able to undertake his roles in the party even if he becomes the next AUC chairman.

“Addis Ababa is only two hours’ journey from Kenya. What we know is that Raila is still our leader and the succession politics is null and void,” Wanga said.

Wandayi emphasised that they are united under the ODM party.

“We are united in the ODM party and let us move together as a community,” Wandayi said.

Owino said nobody should do anything that can cause division in the party.

“What we want is unity as a party under the leadership of Raila. Let us all work hard towards ensuring that we are united for posterity,” Owino said.

Amolo described Raila’s succession politics as inheriting a man’s property in his homestead when he is still alive.

“If a man leaves this village, for a job in Nairobi, even his eldest son has no right to claim ownership of the homestead,” Amolo said.

Raila Odinga’s bid for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson position got a boost following a commitment by Angola and Guinea-Bissau to support him.

Angola’s Ambassador to Kenya Sianga Abilio on Thursday said the Southern African nation would not “let Kenya down”, the strongest suggestion that they would back Raila’s bid.

By AFP 1 hr ago
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